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Technical documentation

The RKD is well known for its collection of over six million photographs, reproductions and slides of mainly Dutch and Flemish artworks in an international context. Up to this date researchers from all over the world come to the RKD to study these visual documents. The RKD also holds the largest art historical library in the Netherlands, including special items such as rare auction catalogues. Some 700 archives, concerning artists, art historians, art dealers, art collectors and art restorers, are open for research.

Less known is the RKD’s important collection of technical documentation. Technical research is increasingly becoming a standard procedure during (art historical) research and plays a part in it. Technical examination is performed in the course of exhibitions, for collection catalogues, for conservation purposes, or, also increasingly, for research projects, such as the Science4Arts program. Although normally results are being published, a large part of the technical documents quite often remains hidden in archives, hard drives or personal files. Up to this date institutions and individuals give less priority to properly structure and store the documentation, or they simply are not able to or do not know what to do with this documentation. This is an unfortunate situation, since many documents are essential for further research, renewed examination, or restoration projects.

Since the 1990s the RKD actively collects technical documentation, either in digital or analogue form. The RKD also carries out infrared reflectography examination (IRR), of which the results are added to the technical documentation collection. The present documentation consists of the results of a variety of research techniques, including infrared reflectography, UV, X-radiography, paint sample analysis, etcetera and documentation pertaining to the treatment of objects. The aim of collecting technical material is to enable researchers to have better access to these research documents, preferably in the context of other types of related material at the RKD. This documentation is systematically entered into the existing RKD’s databases, combining it with art historical information. As such, the technical research documentation is embedded in its art historical context. In February 2018, information about the data will be available online via RKD Explore: Also, the documents can be studied and requested at the RKD. Further embedding technical documentation in its art historical context is part of the RKD’s initiative to develop a state-of-the-art digital infrastructure, RKD Research.

Datum laatste wijziging: Oct 14, 2017 09:32 PM