Technical Documentation

Technisch onderzoeksmateriaal

The Technical Documentation collection comprises technical information about artworks, contained in such things as X-ray photographs and conservation reports.

Infrared reflectography; X-ray photographs; paint sample analysis: the Technical Documentation collection focuses on the results of scientific research on paintings. Technical documentation is crucial to art-historical research in helping to understand how artworks were made and the current state of the materials used. The RKD manages important technical documentation archives, assembled by, for example, Prof. J.R.J. van Asperen de Boer, the Rembrandt Research Project, and Prof. Molly Faries. The RKD has also acquired archives belonging to conservators, containing conservation reports for artworks: those of Martin de Wild, Peter Hermesdorf, the Hesterman family and the Kollektief Restauratieatelier Foundation, Amsterdam. In 2020 Dr Maryan Ainsworth donated her research material relating to infrared reflectography. This means that the RKD is the only place in the world to have such an extensive and valuable collection of IRR material.  

We are in the process of making the technical documentation accessible, both analogue and digital, for researchers and all who are interested. Technical documentation can allow insights into the making process, the state of the materials used, and the history of artworks, providing an important contribution to art-historical knowledge. The RKD is also putting online technical documentation from collections other than its own, for example as part of its contribution to the Rembrandt Database. The information within the RKDtechnical database is arranged according to the various types of technical research.

Because of the specialist nature and vulnerability of the material, the Technical Documentation collection can only be consulted under supervision. You may request to see it using the contact form.