Technical Art History examines the act of art-making in all its facets, from all forms, times, and places. Its approach is interdisciplinary and combines the humanities and social sciences, as well as heritage science and conservation research to understand methods and materials of artistic practice. From initial idea to finished object, from making process to survival over time, the object’s biography takes central stage, set against ever-evolving cultural, political, economic, and social environments. At the core of Technical Art History as a discipline are technological texts and archival documents describing methods and materials; reconstructions as research tools; research into workshop practices; as well as exchanges of knowledge and materials between disciplines, from medieval times to present art production. Innovative digital methods are increasingly playing a crucial role within technical art history. Other focus points for current research include female artists and makers; the global exchange of techniques; the history of trade in artists’ materials, artistic and artisanal skills; the complexity of contemporary art practice; as well as the preservation of intangible cultural heritage such as the preservation of disappearing knowledge of specific crafts and artistic techniques.
ArtMatters therefore provides a platform for peer reviewed, open-access publications, as well as discourse on the rapidly developing interdisciplinary field. We welcome full-length papers as well as short notes that address the topics outlined above. We also provide a platform for special issues, and welcome news items and links to technical art history as well as related conservation and heritage science projects. Please get in touch with our team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Editors in chief
is Director of the Hamilton Kerr Institute and Deputy Director Conservation and Heritage Science at the Fitzwilliam Museum (February 2022). From 2016-2022 she held the Rijksmuseum Chair for Studio Practical and Technical Art History at University of Amsterdam and was senior research in Technical Art History at the Rijksmuseum. She is currently Visiting Professor at the Venice Center for Digital and Public Humanities, Ca'Foscari University, Venice.
is Paintings Researcher Rembrandt - Paintings at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Prior to joining the Rijksmuseum in 2014, she worked for 18 years as a paintings conservator at the Mauritshuis in The Hague where she was involved in several collaborative research projects including ‘The Rembrandt Database’ and the Science4Arts project: ‘ReVisualizing Rembrandt: the development and application of new imaging techniques’. Currently her research focus is the study of Rembrandt paintings in the collection of the Rijksmuseum, including Rembrandt’s 1642, masterpiece, ‘The Night Watch’. Noble has published widely on technical aspects of Rembrandt paintings.
is a PhD candidate in the NWO Down to the Ground project at the University of Amsterdam, where she also received her MSc in Technical Art History. She studies the spread of coloured grounds in the Netherlands 1550-1650.
Paul van Laar
is a PhD candidate at Research Unit VICARTE (Glass and Ceramics for the Arts) at FCT NOVA, Lisbon. The research focuses on the production, trade, and use of smalt and its relation to other blue cobalt-containing glassy materials in Early Modern Europe. Prior to this, he developed an interactive tool for the interactive inspection of 3D surface scans and CT scans of cultural heritage objects, in a shared project between the Rijksmuseum and CWI.
Brian Castriota, Guest editor, Special Issue #1
is an Adjunct Lecturer in Time-Based Media Art Conservation at NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts and is a regular guest lecturer at the University of Glasgow and Edinburgh College of Art. He also works as a freelance conservator for time-based media and contemporary art at the National Galleries Scotland and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin.
Zoë Miller, Guest editor, Special Issue #1
is a researcher at the Tate and PhD candidate at Maastricht University.
Dominic Paterson, Guest editor, Special Issue #1
is Senior Lecturer in History of Art at the University of Glasgow specialising in critical theory, (particularly the work of Michel Foucault), historiography and the history of art history, visual culture and art of the post-war period.
is a lecturer in technical art history at the Graduate Program of Art History at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Her research focuses on materials and techniques of New Spain’s painting during Colonial times with a special emphasis on works created by artists that travelled to the New World from the Iberian context.
Klaas Jan van der Berg
is Senior Conservation Scientist at the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE) focusing on historical developments in oil paint in the late 19th C and 20th C. He is also Professor of Conservation Science (Painted Art) at the University of Amsterdam.
is head of the scientific research department and senior conservation scientist at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. She provides scientific and technical support to all aspects of conservation and preservation of the National Gallery’s collections. She has conducted research and published on new materials for treatment of works of art, degradation of paint, and artists’ materials and methods. A focus of her research is early modern painters’ use of color and pigments.
is Research Curator for Conservation and Technical Studies Programs and the director of the Summer Institute for Technical Studies in Art at Harvard Art Museums. An expert in the technical study of bronzes and on the history of conservation, she has published extensively on European bronze sculpture of the 16th through 18th centuries.
is Associate Professor in the Department of History and Art History at Utrecht University and PI for the ERC-funded project Dynamics of the Durable: A History of Making Things Last in the Visual and Decorative Arts.
is Professor of Conservation and head of the Department of Art Conservation & Technology at The Courtauld Institute, London. Her research interests include investigation of the materials and techniques used for painting; characterisation of visual and material changes; the application of new methods for technical study; evaluating methods for conservation practice; and deterioration and conservation issues for modern oil paint and paintings.
is Associate Vice President and Grainger Executive Director of Conservation and Science at the Art Institute of Chicago. She founded the AIC scientific research laboratory and has been in charge of planning and carrying out scientific research on the collection. She is also the co-founder and co-Director of the Northwestern University/Art Institute of Chicago Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts.
is a painting conservator and researcher at the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA), Brussels. She specialised in the treatment and study of European Old Masters and was Head of Project for the conservation of the Ghent Altarpiece from 2016 to 2020. She is currently working on her PhD dissertation on the Material History of the Ghent Altarpiece (Ghent University).
is a Colour Scientist in the Department of Scientific Research at the British Museum and specialises in the study of colour, colourants and their sources. Trained as photochemist and vibrational spectroscopist, her research interests lie in the interaction between light and the materials encountered on ancient polychrome surfaces and archaeological/historical textiles. Her research uses non-invasive methods and imaging techniques for the study of these coloured surfaces, enabling them to be read and understood in new ways.
is a painting conservator in charge of research at the National Gallery of Denmark (SMK). She holds a PhD in technical art history from 2017 with the thesis: “Crafts & Colours during the Reign of Christian IV. Trade, availability and usage of painters’ materials 1610-1626”. Her research focuses on historical painting materials and techniques and their impact on the degradation, preservation and appearance of artworks, as well as the historical trade and production of painting materials.
is Professor for Conservation of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Cologne Institute of Conservation Sciences (CICS). His research concerns Early modern art: German painting, Lucas Cranach; Technical Art History/Art Technology: Historical materials and techniques; and Modern and contemporary art.
Hanna B. Hölling
is Research Professor at Bern University of Applied Sciences/Academy of the Arts and honorary Associate Professor at the University College London. In Bern, she leads two research projects, "Performance: Conservation, Materiality, Knowledge" and "Activating Fluxus", funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. Her research, publications and teaching focus on the art and material culture since the 1960s, including performance, film, video, installation and land and environmental art, as well as on the ethics, aesthetics and philosophy in and of conservation.
is Head of Paintings Conservation at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Her research interests center on technical investigations of Old Master paintings. Her primary focus has been technical study of paintings by Rembrandt. She heads the conservation programme of the Night Watch.
is PhD in Art History (Universidad de Buenos Aires-UBA), specializing in the material dimension of artistic production, from the 16th century to modern days. She is Principal Scientific Researcher at CONICET (National Research Council, Argentina) and director of the Centro MATERIA at the Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero (UNTREF). Chair Professor at UBA and UNTREF. She´s been Guggenheim Fellow in 2006-2007 and Getty Scholar 2016. Author of many books and articles including El Poder de los Colores (Buenos Aires, FCE, 2005; ALAA award 2006), Pigments and Power in the Andes (London, Archetype, 2011), La Paleta del Espanto (Buenos Aires, Unsamedita, 2011), and in co-edition with Agustina R. Romero, Materia Americana (Buenos Aires, Eduntref, 2020; ALAA and Eleanor Tuft Honorable Mentions).
is Head of Science at The National Gallery, London. She has published extensively on scientific investigations of materials and techniques in paintings, and recently headed the IPERION CH project to create a Database of Preparation Layers in European Paintings.
is the Inaugural Mark Steinberg Weil Professor of Art History at Washington University, St. Louis. Her research concerns the history of northern European art, with a focus on the Netherlands in the seventeenth century. Her work on early modern art and visual culture is informed by and contributes to intersections of art history, history of science, material culture studies, and the history of global trade and politics.
is Assistant Professor and Head of the Conservation Department at FCT NOVA, Lisbon. She is also the Director of the Research Unit VICARTE (Glass and Ceramic for the Arts), integrating artists, historian, archeologists, conservators, chemists and material scientists. She works in the field of Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage in the area of Technical Art History and Materials Degradation.
is the former Chair of conservation and Head of European Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2012-2020) where he established a new conservation and science department with a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary research. After almost 40 years at the National Gallery in London, he was Associate Director of Collections at the J.Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, and acting director from 2010-2012.
is the Seth Low Professor of History at Columbia University and Director of the Center for Science and Society and specializes in early modern European history and the history of science. She is founding director of The Making and Knowing Project and chair of Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience.
Ron Spronk is a professor of Art History at Queens University, Kingston with a special interest in painting materials and techniques, after working at the Harvard Art Museums for 13 years. He also holds the Jheronimus Bosch Chair at Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands and recently participated in the Bosch Research and Conservation Project, and the research/conservation project of the Ghent Altarpiece. At Queen’s, he is currently establishing QU-MoLTAH, a mobile laboratory for technical art history.
Joyce Hill Stoner
is the Edward F. and Elizabeth Goodman Rosenberg Professor of Material Culture at the University of Delaware and Director of UD Preservation Studies Doctoral Program. She teaches painting conservation for the Winterthur/UD Program in Art Conservation. She co-edited a multi-author 890-page Routledge book on The Conservation of Easel Paintings; first published in November 2012 and re-issued in 2019.
is Director of WATS, the Wadum Art Technological Studies in Copenhagen, Professor emeritus at the University of Amsterdam, and formerly Director of the Centre for Art Technological Studies and Conservation (CATS), a research consortium between the National Gallery of Denmark, The National Museum of Denmark, and the School of Conservation, Copenhagen. From 2005 he was keeper of conservation at the National Gallery of Denmark (SMK). From 1991 to 2005 Wadum was head of paintings conservation at the Mauritshuis, The Hague.