Projects at the Gallery

Research projects

At SMK we study art in all its many aspects – we explore art history, examine the artists’ techniques, and analyse works of art. We also study the museum’s role as an institution.

The projects can differ greatly in nature. Sometimes research and conservation coincide, as was the case in the project Illuminated – Tracing Bosch and Bruegel, which saw an international team of scientists examining four paintings depicting the same subject matter, using technical analysis in order to discover the history behind the paintings. At other times the research focuses on a particular artist or period, or perhaps it homes in on subjects such as citizenship, learning, and the experience economy.

All research projects take their point of departure in the museum’s collections and in its activities as an institution.

Overview of research projects

Tizian, Portrait of Giovanni Bellini, c. 1512.

Tizian, Portrait of Giovanni Bellini, c. 1512.

Titian’s portraits

The project examines two of the museum’s Titians: the early Portrait of Giovanni Bellini (circa 1512) and the late Portrait of Willibald Imhoff the Elder (1560s). The project also studies five paintings from the museum collections that each has some relationship with Titian – as attributions, copies after his work, or otherwise – and seeks to determine their true attribution.

Field of study: European Art 1300-1800
Persons responsible: Matthias Wivel, Troels Filtenborg, and Claudia Daffara (C.N.R. – Instituto Nazionale di Ottica Applicata Art Diagnotic Group).


Et udsnit af Pieter Bruegel den Ældres værk Kaninjagt. Bruegels tegninger undersøges som en del af projektet.

Detail of Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s Rabbit Hunt. Bruegel’s drawings are studied as part of the project.

Testing a mathematical method for identifying forged art on paper

This collaborative project involves Christian Robert Jakobsen, a PhD fellow with the Department of Mathematics, Aarhus University, who has developed a mathematical method supposedly capable of identifying forgeries, and Niels Borring from the SMK.

Field of study: European Art 1300-1700 and Danish and Nordic Art 1750-1900
Persons responsible: Niels Borring and Christian Robert Jakobsen


An insight into the museum's collection of frames.

An insight into the museum's collection of frames.

Studies in painting sizes

The research project explores the use of regulated standard formats in paintings in the Netherlands from 1400 to 1800. The aim is to inventory and describe this enormous quantity of massively important artworks and their frames in order to facilitate their conservation and to increase awareness.

Field of study: Europæisk Kunst 1300-1800
Persons responsible:
Jørgen Wadum, Martin Bijl (Alkmaar), Angela Jager (University of Amsterdam), Eddy Schavemaker (Amsterdam), Joost Vander Auwera (Musées des Beaux-Arts, Brussels), Sytske Weidema (RKD, The Hague).


Et udsnit af en af Claes Jansz Visschers tegninger lavet med jerngallusblæk.

Detail of a Claes Jansz Visscher drawing executed using iron gall ink.

Developing restoration methods for works executed in iron gall ink

One of the main conservation issues facing the museum is the fact that many of its finest drawings were drawn using a type of ink that is self-destructive: iron gall ink. The project examines how works drawn in iron gall ink may be restored.

Field of study: European Art 1300-1800 and Danish and Nordic Art 1750-1900
Persons responsible: Niels Borring, Veronique Rouchon (Centre de Recherches sur la Conversation des Documents Graphiques), and Birgit Hansen (The Royal Danish Library).


Punica granatum simpl et pl.

One of the works from the flower album the Gottorfer Codex.

The Gottorfer Codex

Over the course of four years the museum’s conservators have restored the florilegium known as the Gottorfer Codex. Their work has yielded up new information about 17th century flower paintings and drawings and forms the basis of the exhibition Flowers and World Views. The exhibition focuses on flowers as a motif in art.

Field of study: European Art 1300-1800
Persons responsible: Anja Scocozza, Niels Borring, Christian Balleby Jensen, Anne Haack Christensen Eva de la Fuente Pedersen and Hanne Kolind Poulsen

More about the Gottorfer Codex


Venetian Renaissance drawings

The objective of this project is to gain greater knowledge about Venetian drawing during the Renaissance era.

Field of study: European Art 1300-1800
Person(s) responsible: Matthias Wivel


Detail of a watermark with Christian 7's monogram (1749-1808).

Detail of a watermark with Christian 7's monogram (1749-1808).

Watermarks

The SMK is home to large collection of masterpieces created on paper with watermarks, while the School of Conservation in Copenhagen houses a large collection of papers with watermarks from Danish paper mills. This collaborative project aims at establishing a database of watermarks in art on paper; the database will be used for studies of paper and art history in Denmark and internationally.

Field of study: European Art 1300-1800 and Danish and Nordic Art 1750-1900.
Persons responsible: Jørgen Wadum, Anja Scocozza, Chris Fischer and Ingelise Nielsen (School of Conservation)


A conservator working with the back of a painting.

A conservator working with the back of a painting.

Materials in Dutch and Danish 17th Century paintings

Scientific studies of the materials and techniques of a group of 17th and 18th century flower paintings and two portraits from the SMK collection contributing to reveal new technical aspects of paintings from this period.

Field of study: European Art 1300-1800
Persons responsible: Anna Vila,  Hannah Tempest, Meaghan K. Monaghan, Ditte Arndt, Jørgen Wadum.


Jørgen Sonne, Rural scene, 1848.

Jørgen Sonne, Rural scene, 1848.

Danish art and national identity

The study examines how e.g. Danish Golden Age art and the art of the National Romanticism movement has shaped and supported notions about national identity.

Field of study: Danish and Nordic Art 1750-1900
Person responsible: Henrik Holm


Christen Købke, A View from Dosseringen near the Sortedam Lake Looking Towards Nørrebro, 1838

Christen Købke, A View from Dosseringen near the Sortedam Lake Looking Towards Nørrebro, 1838

Relining methods used on paintings from the Danish Golden Age

The project focuses on the museum’s collection of Golden Age paintings from the period 1813-1848; it also constitutes Cecil Krarup Andersen’s PhD dissertation.

Field of study: Danish and Nordic Art 1750-1900
Person responsible: Cecil Krarup Andersen

Read about relining methods


Detail from Wilhelm Bendzs painting Familien Raffenberg, 1830.

Detail from Wilhelm Bendzs painting Familien Raffenberg, 1830.

Danish Golden Age Painting Technique and Materials

The research study investigates the materials and techniques of 19th century Danish Golden Age paintings to contribute to a systematic examination and research of the materials introduced in the 19th century as a consequence of the industrial revolution.

Field of study: Danish and Nordic Art 1750-1900
Persons responsible: Anna Vila, Krøyer project: Michelle Taube, Cecil Andersen, Elizabeth Baadsgaard, Jørgen Wadum, OCT project: Lars Thrane (DTU), Mikkel Scharff (School of Conservation)


Et af Abildgaards malerier i gang med at blive restaureret.

An Abildgaard painting undergoing restoration.

Nicolai Abildgaard

Nicolai Abildgaard’s technique and materials were studied in connection with the restoration of three of his paintings.

Field of study: European Art 1300-1800
Persons responsible: Troels Filtenborg, Anna Vila, Clara Lauridsen and Johanne M. Nielsen

Read about the study of Nicolai Abildgaard


Nicolai Abildgaard, The Wounded Philoctetes, 1775.

Nicolai Abildgaard, The Wounded Philoctetes, 1775.

Nicolai Abildgaard as an art collector

Abildgaard owned a large collection of paintings, drawings, and prints by older masters. This project studies Abildgaard’s activities as an art collector.

Field of study: Danish and Nordic Art 1750-1900
Persons responsible:Chris Fischer and Jesper Svenningsen (The Hirschsprung Collection)


Nicolai Abildgaard, Richard III haunted by the ghosts of his victims in his tent at Bosworth. Episode from Shakespeare, c. 1785.

Nicolai Abildgaard, Richard III haunted by the ghosts of his victims in his tent at Bosworth. Episode from Shakespeare, c. 1785.

A study of Nicolai Abildgaard’s technique and materials

A number of paintings from various periods of Abildgaard’s oeuvre have been subjected to technical studies. The objective is to shed light upon the artist’s technique and possible development and to place this within the framework of contemporary academic practices in Denmark, France, and Italy.

Field of study: Danish and Nordic Art 1750-1900
Person responsible: Troels Filtenborg


Peter Nørgaard Larsen på sit kontor.

Peter Nørgaard Larsen in his office.

L.A. Ring – Spring

In connection with an exhibition at the Hirschsprung Collection the SMK’s curator Peter Nørgaard Larsen has analysed L.A. Ring’s painting Spring from 1895, one of the paintings featured in the exhibition.

Field of study: Danish and Nordic Art 1750-1900
Person responsible: Peter Nørgaard Larsen

Read about L.A. Ring’s painting
(external link)


Detail of Otto Bache's drawing of Brewer J. C. Jacobsen's head, approx. From 1854 to 1927.

Detail of Otto Bache's drawing of Brewer J. C. Jacobsen's head, approx. From 1854 to 1927.

The Brewer, the Buddha, and the Baroque

The project studies the brewer and philanthropist J.C. Jacobsen as a collector of art and artefacts other than those hailing from antiquity; i.e. it looks at his collection activities prior to his choice to focus on antiquity. The project compares Jacobsen to other collectors from the period, and studies who offered him advice and the tastes that served as the basis for his purchases.

Field of study: Danish and Nordic Art 1750-1900 
Persons responsible: Chris Fischer, Mette Moltesen (Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek) and Tina Thunøe (Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek)


Succession H. Matisse/BilledKunst Copydan 2012. Henri Matisse, Zulma, 1950.

© Succession H. Matisse/BilledKunst Copydan 2012. Henri Matisse, Zulma, 1950.

Matisse’s paper cut-outs Zulma

The method of mounting used for Zulma is studied in co-operation with Foundation Beyeler.

Field of study: Danish and International Art after 1900 
Persons responsible: Niels Borring and Stephan Lohrengel

More about the work


André Derain, Woman in a chemise, 1906.

© André Derain, Woman in a chemise, 1906.

The SMK's collection of French 20th century painting and sculpture

The objective of this project is to create an overview of the French collection in its entirety. The project explores how the collection was created, why it contains the works it does, and how it is best presented to the public.

Field of study: Danish and International Art after 1900 
Person responsible: Dorthe Aagesen


Palle Nielsen, The Tempest, 1963.

© Palle Nielsen, The Tempest, 1963.

The Portrayers of Humanity in Danish graphic art after 1945

This PhD project studies the link between the art created by the so-called “Portrayers of Humanity” and the Cold War. Here, the “Portrayers of Humanity” are defined as the artists who, during the period 1956 to 1959, took part in three “manifesto exhibitions” entitled “Humanity”. These artists are: Palle Nielsen, Svend Wiig Hansen, Dan Sterup-Hansen, Reidar Magnus, Henry Heerup, and Erling Frederiksen.

Field of study: Danish and International Art after 1900 
Person responsible: Liza Burmeister Kaaring


Asger Jorn – retrospective

An in-depth study of Asger Jorn’s work. The study will form the foundations of a retrospective about the artist to be shown in 2014 on the occasion of the centenary of his birth.

Field of study: Danish and International Art after 1900 
Persons responsible: Helle Anita Brøns and Dorthe Aagesen

See a list of future exhibitions at SMK


Asger Jorn and the Avant-Garde. Gender and the Role of the Artist

The project examines how Asger Jorn mixed and merged a range of artist’s roles, presenting himself in many guises: as a political modernist, a “conservative” avant-garde artist, and as an activist organiser of groups who always left the groups as soon as they had become established. The project will also study the gender-related discussion to be found in his paintings, his theoretical writings, and his participation in European avant-garde groups.

Field of study: Danish and International Art after 1900 
Person responsible: Helle Anita Brøns


Detail of Paul Gernes' artwork 200 taps with a hammer, 1962.

© Detail of Paul Gernes' artwork 200 taps with a hammer, 1962.

History of the Nordic Avant-Garde

The SMK will be part of an inter-disciplinary editorial group preparing a four-volume work (in English) about the history of avant-garde art in the Nordic countries.

Field of study: Danish and International Art after 1900
Persons responsible: Birgitte Anderberg, Tania Ørum (University of Copenhagen), Marianne Ping Huang (University of Copenhagen), Henrik Kaare Nielsen (Aarhus University), Benedikt Hjartarson (University of Iceland), Andreas Engstrøm (Stockholm University), Jesper Olsson (Stockholm University) and Audun Lindholm (Oslo University)


Lene Adler Petersen (1944-) and Bjørn Nørgaard (1947-), From the series The Female Christ, 1969.

© Lene Adler Petersen (1944-) and Bjørn Nørgaard (1947-), From the series The Female Christ, 1969.

The 1960s and 70s – Art in an Expanded Field

The art scene of the 1960s and 1970s was in many ways a watershed within the realm of art. This project studies a range of historical issues from the 1960s and 70s and presents a methodical and theoretical dimension that considers the challenges presented to the museum institutions by the historic shift of the period. The project reflects the period’s importance within art history and also offers a point of entry to the realm of contemporary art.

Field of study: Danish and International Art after 1900 
Person responsible: Birgitte Anderberg


Danh Vo i Skulpturgaden med We the People (Detail).

Danh Vo: We the People (Detail).

Danh Vo: We the People (detail)

For this exhibition Danh Vo had a full-scale copy of the Statue of Liberty made in a metal workshop in Shanghai. However, the statue was not welded together to reach its full height of 45m; rather, it remains split into approximately 400 parts that have been scattered across the world.

Field of study: Danish and International Art after 1900
Person responsible: Marianne Torp

More about the exhibition We the People (detail)


Kvinde ser sammen med sit barn på en ipad, der introducerer til SMK's samlinger.

In the collection of Danish and International Art after 1900 visitors can take an iPad with them as they explore the collections.

Museums and citizenship

The modern-day museum was created as a democratic place of edification and is in some respects similar to the school as an institution. But what does it mean to be a democratic institution of education within a present-day context?

Field of study: The museum as institution
Person responsible: Nana Bernhardt


Adults in the collections. SMK-Foto: Frida Gregersen.

Adults in the collections. (Foto: Frida Gregersen, SMK-Foto).

Museum Experiences: A study of how adult visitors and their responses to the collections at the SMK

Art education and presentation is a relatively new discipline in Denmark, and no research-based study of the field exists as yet. This PhD dissertation explores the intentions behind art education and presentation activities and how it can yield the desired results.

Field of study: The museum as institution
Person responsible: Mette Houlberg Rung


Conservation of a work (Foto: Frida Gregersen, SMK-foto).

Conservation of a work (Foto: Frida Gregersen, SMK-foto).

Science4arts

The Science4Arts research program aims to investigate changes in artworks with regard to an object’s chemical and physical dynamics, significance and substance, as well as its frame of reference. The program aims to develop and strengthen interchange between the research of various research institutions and the museological field.

Field of study
conservation
Persons responsible:
Jørgen Wadum, Dr. ir. H.L. (Henk) Schellen, TU/e / Dhr. P.H.J.C. (Paul) van Duin, Rijksmuseum, TU Eindhoven, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Rijksdienst voor Cultureel Erfgoed, Kasteel Amerongen, Vienna University of Technology, Technical University Denmark, CATS –Statens Museum for Kunst, Polish Academy of Sciences, KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Zweden), UCL Centre for Sustainable Hertitage (London), Metropolitan Museum NYC, Museum Conservation Institute (Smithsonian Institution Washington)


Detail of photograph where Hammershøi are painting Svend Hammershøi.

© Detail of photograph where Hammershøi are painting Svend Hammershøi, by Unknown photographer, 1887, The Royal Library.

Technical Studies on Photographic Processes

The project aims at identifying the 19th century photographic materials and processes, which can contribute with information that will be beneficial to better design conservation and exhibition strategies.

Research area: Danish and Nordic Art 1750-1900
Participants:
Anna Vila , Silvia Centeno, Lisa Barro, Nora W. Kennedy (Metropolitan Museum), Hector Bagan and Jose F. Garcia (University of Barcelona), Connie McCabe, Chris Maines and Matt Clarke (NGA), Silvia Centeno and Lisa Barro (MMA), Jose F. Garcia, Eva Marin (University of Barcelona)


Conservation of a work.

Conservation of a work.

Liquefying paint problems on Contemporary Art

The project conducts scientific research on two contemporary oil paintings from the SMK collection in which specific white and pink areas of the paint is running and dripping. The aim of this emerging project is to identify the problem behind the running paint, also seen in other paintings by the same and different artists, and to establish conservation strategies.

Research area: Danish and International art after 1900
Participants: Anna Vila, Clara Lauridsen, Pil Rasmussen, Line Blomsterberg, Jørgen Wadum

Updated: 7.jul.2014
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