On Monday November 20th, the Royal Palace in Amsterdam hosted the Palace Symposium. The theme of the evening was 'Alpha and Beta in the Arts.' Scholars from various disciplines in the field of art and heritage illuminated their perspectives on the subject. I also had the opportunity to present my research to an audience of experts, as well as His Majesty the King, Her Majesty Queen Máxima, and Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix.
The discussion covered conservation, restoration, interpretation, and contextualization from both the technical side of art research and a philosophical-ethical perspective on the possibilities of new technology. Professor Salvador Muñoz Viñas, head of the Paper Conservation Group at the Conservation Institute of the Universitat Politècnica de València, advocated for a more open and efficient understanding of conservation and conservation ethics. Professor Erma Hermens, among other roles, director of the Hamilton Kerr Institute for Easel Painting Conservation, shared her experience in bringing together research teams consisting of technical art historians, conservators, and scientists.
In my presentation, I took the audience on a journey through time. The topic was the digital and physical reconstruction of a fifteenth-century altarpiece, a Crucifixion by the Master of the Lindau Lamentation (Museum Catharijneconvent). This artwork has been overpainted and can no longer be viewed in its 'original' state. Through a combination of art-historical, material-technical, and digital research techniques, it is possible to see the painting as it was admired by devout believers six centuries ago.