Rijks Museum Amsterdam


The Rijksmuseum (State Museum) is a Netherlands national museum dedicated to arts and history in Amsterdam. The Rijksmuseum was founded in The Hague in 1800 and moved to Amsterdam in 1808. In 2013, it was the most visited museum in the Netherlands with a record number of 2.2 million visitors. The museum has on display 8,000 objects of art and history, from their total collection of 1 million objects from the years 1200–2000, among which are some masterpieces by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, and Johannes Vermeer. The collection of the Rijksmuseum holds a series of paintings (1913-19) by R. N. Roland Holst, Dutch artist from the early 20th century, oil paint on asbestos board. The paintings have a matt surface and the paint is very powdery. A suitable treatment to remove the surface dirt and to consolidate the paint is not found yet. Therefore, these paintings are considered to be very problematic for conservation. A suitable gel or fluid to non-destructively clean the surface dirt and a material to consolidate the paint without affecting the matt appearance of the paint is needed.


Key Persons

Petria Noble carried out her post-graduate studies in art history and conservation at The Institute of Fine Arts of New York University (1988-1992). She interned at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) and was till September 2014 Head of paintings conservation at the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis in The Hague where she has worked since 1996. She was guest researcher for the 'De Mayerne’ research program (2002-2006), specifically working on metal soap related alterations in paint layers. She is a member of the editorial board of Art Matters: International Journal for Technical Art History. Her research interests center on technical investigations of Old Master paintings as a key to understanding artists’ painting techniques and changes in appearance. In the last ten years her primary focus has been technical study of paintings by Rembrandt in the collection of the Mauritshuis. Since September 2014 she is head of paintings conservation at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.


Robert van Langh was born in Oosterhout (North Brabant) on 19 June 1968 and started secondary school at the Willem van Duvenvoorde MAVO (Oosterhout). He then went on to the St. Olof secondary commercial School (Breda) and went on to study to be a goldsmith at the Free Technical School “Technicum” (Antwerp, Belgium) in 1988. In 1992 he continued his studies with the Metal Restoration and Conservation course at the National Higher Institute for Fine Arts (Antwerp, Belgium). In 1995 he started on the training for conservators in Amsterdam, where he was responsible for setting up the course for metal conservation up to 2006. In addition he worked for two months at the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam in 1995 and then went on to work as a metal conservator for the Rijksmuseum. In 1998 he briefly carried out a research project on behalf of the Rijksmuseum at the Sherman Fairchild Center for Objects Conservation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 2001 he became head of the metal conservation department, and since 2006 he has been head of the department of Conservation at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. He started his doctoral research at the department of Technical Materials Sciences at the 3 ME Faculty (Hydraulic Engineering, Maritime Technology & Technical Materials Sciences) in Delft in September 2006. In 2011 he spent three months as the museum scholar selected by The J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles, United States). In 2012 he obtained his Ph.D. at Delft University of Technology with the title Technical Studies of Renaissance Bronzes; The use of neutron imaging and time-of-flight neutron diffraction in the studies of the manufacture and determination of historical copper objects and alloys.


Katrien Keune received her degree in Chemistry at the University of Amsterdam in 2000 and got her PhD degree in Analytical Chemistry in 2005. Her PhD- work was part of the MOLART and De Mayerne programs. Her thesis is entitled: binding medium, pigments and metal soaps characterised and localised in paint cross-sections. Currently, she is the project leader of and researcher in the multi-disciplinary research project Paint Alteration in Time (PAinT) (2012-1216, University of Amsterdam). Additionaly, she is holding the position of paintings research scientist at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, The Netherlands.