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Research at the Gemäldegalerie
Current research projects held in cooperation with other institutions
- 'Interdisciplinary project on the research and analysis of paintings using neutron-induced autoradiography' (C. Laurenze-Landsberg, Chr. Schmidt): collaboration between the Gemäldegalerie and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin
Our long-term collaboration with the HZB has enabled the Gemäldegalerie to become the only museum in the world to make consistent and systematic use, over a period of more than twenty years, of neutron-induced autoradiography (NIAR) and gamma-ray spectroscopy in the examination of paintings. As a result, these examination techniques are regularly incorporated in our museum work. Neutron-induced autoradiography is an exceptionally versatile and successful method to examine paintings in a nondestructive manner.
It provides insight into the pigments used, the brushwork, the state of preservation of the various layers of paint, and the many stages that went into creating the work. In combination with other technical examination methods, NIAR presents us with a special opportunity to take a detailed look at a painter's creative process. The long-term project between our two institutions aims to scientifically reassess paintings.
- 'Technical research of paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder.' In cooperation with the Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation Berlin-Brandenburg (SPSG), as part of the development of the catalogue of works held at the SPSG by Lucas Cranach the Elder and other German artists of the 15th and 16th century.
- 'Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki. The Paintings' (Rainer Michaelis, technical examinations: Ute Stehr)
- 'On Rembrandt's Visual Strategies - Fresh Research at the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin' (Bernd Lindemann, Babette Hartwieg, Katja Kleinert, Claudia Laurenze-Landsberg of the Gemäldegalerie, working with foreign partners and research institutions; sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, New York, and the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin)
Berlin's Gemäldegalerie presides over one of the most extensive collections of Rembrandt works in the world. This collection of paintings is now the focus of the Gemäldegalerie's research project that has recently got under way and is expected to last for several years. The principle aim of the research project is to conduct in-depth analysis for the first time on images derived from modern scientific imaging techniques, in particular existing neutron-induced autoradiographs, by comparing them with data from other forms of art-technological research, and to present the findings in their art-historical and technical context. At the heart of this project lie a wealth of new findings, which go above and beyond previous research, relating to the genesis of the paintings, the development of subjects and motifs, as well as artistic and painterly technique. The precondition for these comprehensive new findings has been intense interdisciplinary exchange and close cooperation between scholars from diverse fields of study. All information covered in the project, along with its findings, will subsequently be digitalized and posted on the Rembrandt Database.
The Rembrandt Database is a continually expanding database, which will continue to evolve in the long term and form the essential base for any future Rembrandt research. Some 21 project partners from a total of five countries are involved in developing the database, under the direction of the Rijksdienst voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie (Den Haag). A detailed collation of restoration documentation, technical data, archive material, and art-historical information on each painting is planned.
- Joint research project on the Lüneburg Golden Panel (Prof. Lindemann, Dr. Babette Hartwieg and Dr. Stephan Kemperdick, representatives from the collaborative project, involving the Landesmuseum Hannover, the SMB's Gemäldegalerie, the Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, and the HAWK Hildesheim and sponsored by the Volkswagen Foundation.)
The "Golden Panel", preserved at the Landesmuseum Hannover, is considered one of the most important works from the period of the International Gothic around 1400, and once served as the retable of the high altar in the church of the Benedictine abbey St. Michaelis zu Lüneburg. From September 2012, a group of art historians, historians, conservators and scientists will be working in close cooperation to research the altarpiece in greater detail.
The Gemäldegalerie - Staatliche Museen zu Berlin is one of the cooperation partners involved in the interdisciplinary project. Conservator Dr. Babette Hartwieg and Dr. Stephan Kemperdick from the Gemäldegalerie are providing the project with their expertise in art history and conservation care. The goal of the four-year undertaking is to research the work thoroughly from both art historical and technical aspects. The Volkswagen Stiftung has generously sponsored the project within the framework of the "Research in Museums" programme with a substantial contribution of 540,000 euros. Other sponsors include the Klosterkammer Hannover. Further information on the Golden Panel and the research mission is available on the Landesmuseum Hannover's own website.
Annotated Catalogues Raisonnés
- Die Miniaturen des 18. Jahrhunderts in der Berliner Gemäldegalerie / 18th Century German, English and French Miniatures in the Berlin Gemäldegalerie (Rainer Michaelis, technological research: Ute Stehr)
- Die deutschen Gemälde des 17. Jahrhunderts / 17th Century German Painting (Rainer Michaelis, in cooperation with the University of Trier, technological research: Ute Stehr)
- Die oberitalienischen Gemälde des 15. Jahrhunderts / 15th Century Northern Italian Painting (Stefan Weppelmann, Catarina Schmidt-Arcangeli, technological research: Maria Reimelt, Claudia Laurenze-Landsberg, supported by the Fritz-Thyssen Foundation)
Forschung bei den Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin (Publikation der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin, 2007)