Introducing ArtGarden

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The Imaging Lab is partner in the ArtGarden research project. The project aims to test and develop an efficient (“best practices”) matrix (tool – protocol) for monitoring, imaging and documenting (art-technical), fragile historic mixed media objects. This is used to facilitate decision making during conservation and preservation practice.

The Imaging Lab is involved to investigate the historical materials and techniques through scientific imaging tools such as multi-spectral imaging or the Microdome (developed within the RICH project)

The focus of the project is the guiding and evaluation of conservation treatment and the transportation, display in a museum environment and long-term storage of complex degraded historic mixed media artefacts. Up until now, guidelines have concentrated on one material characteristic. The complex nature of a large number of historic mixed-media artefacts in museum collections is more challenging and less developed. The ArtGarden project combines documentation, conservation and preservation protocols (Terminology defined by ICOM-CC, New Delhi, 2008) to create an innovative tool to support collection care, maintenance, display and valorization of complex historic collection artefacts.

Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage, KIK/IRPA
KU Leuven
University of Antwerp

A project funded by Belspo/BRAIN.

FINGERPRINT: the toolbox

infrastructuur-fingerprint00021-1In a previous blogpost, we introduced the FINGERPRINT project. FINGERPRINT is an interdisciplinary collection and data management project on the exceptional collection of graphic works by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (ca. 1520-1569). It involves the collection and processing of a large amount of visual and material data. To obtain that visual data we have an extensive toolbox at our disposal: a high resolution medium format digital back, a motorized repro stand, a Nikon DSLR modified for multispectral imaging with a collection of multispectral filters, the RICH microdomes and much more. A brief overview. Continue reading

Introducing Fingerprint: an interdisciplinary research project on the graphic works of Pieter Bruegel the Elder

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Pieter Bruegel, Justitia, S II 133 707 (detail), 1559, 224 x 295 mm, KBR Print Room, Brussels, Imaging with Multi-Spectral Microdome (RICH project)

The Imaging Lab is one of the partners in FINGERPRINT: an interdisciplinary collection- and data management project, involving art history, art technical research, digital imaging, image processing, conservation science.

The aim is to monitor and evaluate the phases of the genesis of a print, from the unique preparatory drawings over proof impressions to later states and editions. This will be accomplished through advanced digital imaging, statistical processing and laboratory analyses.

The graphic works of Pieter Bruegel the Elder (ca. 1520-1569) in the collection of the Royal Library of Belgium is the test corpus for the FINGERPRINT project. The tools and methods developed to gather and treat the data will be designed to answer specific questions regarding the prints and drawings from this corpus. These questions concern both collection management, technical art history and conservation science as well as production, distribution and consumption history of the corpus of artifacts of Bruegel. Continue reading

Endangered collections: risks and strategies

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During the Great War, in the night of 25-26 August 1914, soldiers set the fourteenth-century University Hall and its eighteenth-century library wing of the University of Leuven (Belgium) ablaze. To commemorate the hundredth Anniversary of the Library’s destruction, the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) organized a three day international conference on the challenging topic: What do we lose when we lose a library? with the support of the Goethe-Institut Brüssel and the British Council, Brussels.  Continue reading

Large-scale high-end digitisation? Workflow optimisation!

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Ex-libris of Archibald Corble Harrison in KU Leuven, BTAB, R4A1

Shortly after the 1940 burning of the Leuven University Library, the fencer and bibliophile Archibald Corble Harrison (1883-1944) donated his extensive collection of books on fencing to the University. The books and manuscripts of this collection, held by the KU Leuven Special Collections, are now the subject of a large-scale digitisation project.

The project is vast: with c. 1.900 items dating from as early as the 15th century to the 20th century, the Corble collection is one of the largest collections on swordmanship and related fields in the world. Continue reading

Digitizing a porcelain card – in pursuit of a faithful reproduction

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The KU Leuven University Archives requested a digital reproduction of a porcelain card. A porcelain card is a 19th century lithographic printing technique that uses either white lead or kaolin to produce prints with a very distinct shimmer (more information here). Because this shimmer is an essential aspect of the porcelain card, we somehow had to preserve some of the shine in our reproduction. Since common digitization techniques are obviously tailored to minimize the amount of reflection, this turned out to be quite a challenge. Continue reading