Villum Foundation and the Gallery
Thanks to a generous donation from the Velux Foundation and Villum Foundation, the National Gallery of Denmark, the National Museum of Denmark and the School of Conservation at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts are now setting up an all-new centre specializing in technological studies within art history. The Centre for Art Technological Studies and Conservation, or CATS will help resolve any doubts regarding the authenticity of works of art and thus safeguard cultural heritage.
International knowledge centre
CATS operates across boundaries of professional disciplines, offering a rare fusion between the realms of science and the humanities to become a leading international knowledge centre through target-oriented co-operation with other institutions and experts. Here, new and sophisticated scientific methods for research on art and culture can optimise the way art is treated and preserved for future generations.
The new centre will support conservators and art/culture historians in their research as well as in issues concerning the authenticity of a given work. In addition to this, the centre’s work will undoubtedly bring about new knowledge about historical developments. First and foremost, however, CATS will be able to improve the charting of the greatly varied and frequently complicated processes of ageing that take place within the realms of art. Moreover, the centre also strives to develop new and more accurate ways of diagnosing, treating, and preserving our common art heritage. CATS will also engage in a range of EU-funded projects that cut across national boundaries.
Detective work: Bosch & Bruegel - workshop or copy?
One of the first initiatives undertaken by CATS will be to take part in an international research project together with the Kadriorg Art Museum in Tallinn, the Glasgow Museum, and the University of Glasgow. Under the heading ”Four Paintings Magnified – Tracing Bosch and Bruegel” the project will examine four paintings on wood from the 16th century. They all show the same Biblical scene of Christ driving the traders from the temple. The paintings, one of which belongs to the National Gallery of Denmark, point to artists such as Bruegel (1525-69) and Bosch (ca. 1450-1516) as authors. This gives rise to a wealth of detective work ahead; through technologically aided analyses of painterly techniques and materials, the international research team will seek to pinpoint who the artist behind each work is. Their analyses will rest, among other things, on X-ray and infrared photography of layers of pigment and underdrawings, if any; on chemical analyses of pigment samples, and on analyses of the age and origin of the wood (known as dendrochronology).