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A scientific exploration in 'Atelier Bouts'

From 16 February to 28 April 2024, you will discover at M Leuven everything about the practice of Dieric Bouts, the 15th-century painter from Leuven. Through six works of art, six different scientific research techniques are shown. The contribution of the expertise of the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage was crucial in this.

'Atelier Bouts: Research and Restoration of Masterpieces' offers a deeper insight into the craftsmanship of Dieric Bouts (d. 1475) and his son Albrecht (d. 1549), their artworks, and especially contemporary scientific research. The exhibition, running from February 16 to April 28, 2024, at M Leuven, showcases the science behind heritage research. How much can we discover about their art when we attempt to decipher their paintings down to the smallest details using advanced scientific technologies? Based on what science tells us, how can we then best go about restoring and conserving the works of Dieric and Albrecht Bouts for the future?

Experts from the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA) and the International Platform for Art Research and Conservation (IPARC) can provide the answers to such questions. Our Institute made an essential contribution to the exhibition at M Leuven and to the research and restoration of the artworks on display. The exhibition dives deep into the advanced scientific techniques our experts employ in heritage analysis. You will learn about dendrochronology, macro-XRF scanning, and infrared reflectography – methods that can reveal a great deal about various types of art.

One of the masterpieces in the exhibition is the Triptych of the Descent from the Cross, painted by Dieric Bouts around 1455 and preserved in the Capilla Real of Granada. After the exhibition, the triptych will come to KIK-IRPA for further research by the Dendrochronology Lab and the Painting Lab, followed by careful conservation-restoration treatment at the Painting Studio under the direction of Livia Depuydt. The Centre for the Study of the Flemish Primitives is responsible for art-historical research. Be quick to see the triptych in Leuven before it returns to Spain and marvel at the power of science.

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