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Our research studios and cells

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Painting Studio

The greatest masters from the 14th century to the present day have passed through the skilled hands of our painting experts, from the Van Eyck brothers, Pieter Bruegel, Lambert Lombard, and Peter Paul Rubens to Claude Monet or Constant Permeke. We study, conserve and restore their work with meticulous care.

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Wall Painting Studio

The Wall Painting Studio performs pioneering work in interdisciplinary research, prevention and conservation, oriented towards scientific study and practice.

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Polychrome Wood Sculpture Studio

We study and treat polychrome wood sculptures, but also sculptures made of ivory or of wax. We have a double mission: to gain a better understanding of sculptures and to ensure that they are optimally preserved for future generations.

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Stone Sculpture Studio

From monumental gateway buildings to small museum pieces: our team gives each stone sculpture the customised study and treatment it deserves. Our team leads research on materials and techniques, conducts pilot restorations and carries out conservation-restoration projects.

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Textiles Studio

At the Textiles Studio, or Conservation Studio for Historical and Contemporary Textiles, Clothing and Accessories, we focus on a wide variety of heritage items. Our starting point? Interdisciplinary research to understand the object's materiality and the context in all its dimensions. This results in treatment with minimal intervention and maximum respect for the historical and present-day function.

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Glass and Ceramics Studio

Belgian heritage also includes many items made of glass. Our glass experts devote themselves to the study, conservation and restoration of these gems. Since 2021 we have also been focusing on ceramics.

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Preventive Conservation Unit

Prevention is better than cure. The Preventive Conservation team maps out all the risks of damage to an item or collection and advises you on avoiding problems.

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Our labs

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Paper, Leather and Parchment Lab

Many exceptional gems pass through this lab: beautifully illustrated manuscripts, ink drawings, and historical documents. Our researchers work carefully to identify the materials and techniques used.

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Metals Lab

Metal is traditionally used in art to make jewellery, masks and sculptures. Weapons, coins and tools can also contain decorative elements. The Metals Lab has the necessary expertise to uncover the secrets of metal art objects or metal elements in monuments.

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Dendrochonology Lab

The Dendrochronology Lab of the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage specialises in research into and dating of movable and immovable wood. Its team offer three complementary services: dendrochronology, the identification of wood species and dendroarchaeology, i.e. the archaeology of wood.

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Radiocarbon Dating Lab

From human remains to the clothing of a Coptic mummy: radiocarbon dating allows us to discover the age of many objects. The lab has over sixty years of experience and is unique in Belgium. Its showpiece is the state-of-the-art particle accelerator MICADAS.

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Glass Lab

Glass comes in all colours and shapes ‒ old or more recent glass, transparent or opaque. Our lab conducts research into all types of glass on Belgian soil. Through an interdisciplinary approach, we not only learn a lot about the glass itself but also about its historical and cultural context.

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Painting Lab

Is it an authentic painting or a forgery? An original paint layer or rather a later addition? And how can we prevent or delay degradation? The experts of the Painting Lab uncover the answers to these and other questions from the paint.

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Polychrome Artefacts Lab

Our heritage is full of colour. The use of colour to finish sculptures and objects in wood, metal or stone, both in buildings and outdoors, is called polychromy. We study these layers to know more about our past and discover how to preserve these unique objects for the future.

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Monuments and Monument Decoration Lab

Belgium abounds in valuable immovable heritage: monuments, archaeological sites, listed buildings, etc., often beautifully decorated with ornaments, sculptures, murals or mosaics. We provide analyses and research that contribute to better knowledge of our stone heritage and support its sustainable management or restoration.

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Textiles Lab

This lab is widely known for its expertise in the field of textile identification and degradation. Our specialists have studied many absolute masterpieces, from questioning and analysis to the presentation of their findings at (inter)national symposia. In doing so, they often work together with partners in Belgium and abroad.

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L’équipe d’historiens de l’art de l’IRPA est composée de spécialistes réputés qui se consacrent (principalement) à l’étude de l’art et des artistes belges. Ils fournissent un premier avis pour l’identification d’œuvres qui relèvent de leur spécialité ou vous orientent vers l’expert adéquat. En collaboration avec les photographes, ils enrichissent BALaT, l’inventaire photographique en ligne sur le patrimoine belge. Pour un avis sur la peinture du XVe siècle de nos régions, vous pouvez vous adresser à notre Centre d’étude des Primitifs flamands.