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An exceptional magazine to celebrate our 75th anniversary

Discover why and how KIK-IRPA takes care of our Belgian heritage in a special edition magazine published to celebrate our 75 anniversary.

On its 75th anniversary, KIK-IRPA publishes a richly illustrated special edition magazine inviting you to explore the history of the Belgian scientific institute that studies and cares for our artistic heritage. Discover its interdisciplinary approach and the importance of international relations for research. Become aware of the technological advancements that promote the dissemination of knowledge for everyone. Also, learn about the technologies of scientific imaging and, surprise, discover the material history of the Mystic Lamb in comic strip form!

With its nine laboratories and as many conservation-restoration workshops, the experts of the Royal Institute of Artistic Heritage have, for 75 years, travelled Belgium from end to end to inventory its heritage, explored the hurdles associated with preserving it and conducted research now published in renowned scientific journals. Knowledge about our heritage is also shared with a vast audience through exhibition notes or meetings. In this regard, we are thrilled to release this commemorative magazine that caters to a diverse readership to celebrate our anniversary.

Heritage(s), agentivity and social utility

In 75 years, the list of artworks that have passed through the institute for study, analysis, and restoration has positioned KIK-IRPA as an international reference. Over this extended period however, conservation and restoration have evolved over this extended period: the objects, the methods, and the participants. These changes are very noticeable internationally, and our institute is no exception. Concepts of social utility and the agency of heritage can contribute to rethinking our approaches. At least, that's what Dr Muriel Verbeeck explained in this article. She is a professor of history and theories of conservation-restoration and researcher at the University of Liège, and President of the Scientific Council of IRPA.

Through the prism of scientific imagery

KIK-IRPA is known for being a pioneer in the use of scientific imaging for the study and conservation of Belgian artistic heritage. Armed with extensive experience and cutting-edge technologies, researchers dedicate themselves to the technical examination and the historical and artistic study of paintings, documenting artworks and archaeological objects through photography, radiography, infrared reflectography, dendrochronology, and pigment analysis.

Articles are available in French, Dutch and English. The 130-page magazine is available for €10 from the Institute's reception desk, Parc du Cinquantenaire 1, 1000 Brussels.

It is also available from these booksellers:

More KIK-IRPA news


Chancellor Rolin in 3.5 billion pixels. A masterpiece by Van Eyck as you've never seen it before


The Louvre in Paris recently solicited the services of KIK-IRPA for the exhibition 'Revoir Van Eyck. La Vierge du Chancelier Rolin', which runs until June 17, 2024. The painting of The Madonna of Chancellor Rolin, freshly restored, was captured in images again by our teams. Moreover, it got its own section on the Closer to Van Eyck website.

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F3 P1 Foto 20

Third phase Ghent Altarpiece: First results promise stunning outcome


Since May 2023, the third and final phase of the large-scale conservation-restoration campaign of the altarpiece of the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb by the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA) is ongoing. In recent months, the KIK-IRPA team have been removing non-original varnishes and have carried out a thorough examination of the paint layers underneath. Currently, following the advice of the international commission of experts, they have started removing 16th-century overpaints. Already the first results are breathtakingly beautiful.

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