'The Three Marys at the Tomb' Attributed to Van Eyck

In preparation for the exhibition ‘The Road to Van Eyck' (13 October 2012 - 10 February 2013) the museum carried out extensive research and conservation work on the painting ‘The Three Marys at the Tomb’ (1425-1435) by Jan and/or Hubert van Eyck.

Prior to the restoration, a series of tests were carried out on the 600-year-old painting by CHARISMA MOLAB.

New facts

Before the investigation, there were numerous questions surrounding the painting. It was uncertain whether the painting actually originated from the Van Eyck workshop.

Jan van Eyck, The three Maria's at the Tomb, 1425-1435, oil on panel, acquired with the collection of: D.G. van Beuningen 1958
Jan van Eyck, The three Maria's at the Tomb, 1425-1435, oil on panel, acquired with the collection of: D.G. van Beuningen 1958

After carrying out scientific tests and careful cleaning, it became clear that the painting was indeed created in the Van Eyck workshop. Through the use of new technologies it was discovered that the gold beams on the panel are original and therefore must certainly have been painted by the master. It is also clear that the figure of Jesus once stood at the right of the work, but disappeared when more than ten centimetres were sawn off the panel.

The Three Mary’s at the Tomb - Attributed to Jan Van Eyck

This video shows the restoration process and the findings of the restorers about the composition of the paint and the working method of the painter of ‘The Three Mary’s at the Tomb’. In addition, curator Friso Lammertse sets out on an investigation; he visits three locations that have played an important role in the history of the painting: Vierhouten, Richmond and Bruges. He is confronted with some unexpected surprises.

More about the research

CHARISMA MOLAB is a mobile laboratory with portable testing equipment, which travels throughout Europe to carry out conservation tests. A major benefit of this kind of investigation is that the artwork itself does not have to travel: the equipment comes to the artwork. MOLAB’s capabilities include a range of spectroscopic tests, in which materials are examined through their interaction with light beams of varying energy. This creates a kind of scan of part of the surface that allows the detection of different molecules and elements. This avoids the need for direct contact with the object and having to take samples from the surface.

There are ten different portable instruments that can be used to gauge the chemical composition of an artwork, enabling the identification of pigments and binding agents. This provides the museum with information about the painting technique and the composition of the various layers of paint and can help the museum to date an artwork. These techniques can also help to confirm the presence of later additions and restorations.

CHARISMA-MOLAB has previously carried out research on ‘The Lamb of God’ by the Van Eyck brothers in Ghent and Piet Mondrian’s ‘Victory Boogie-Woogie’ in the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague.

Click here for more information about CHARISMA-MOLAB.

 

Atelier Boersma restores 'The three Marias at the grave' by Hubert van Eyck in the restoration workshop of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Photo: Tot en Met ontwerpen
Atelier Boersma restores 'The three Marias at the grave' by Hubert van Eyck in the restoration workshop of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Photo: Tot en Met ontwerpen
Atelier Boersma restores 'The three Marias at the grave' by Hubert van Eyck in the restoration workshop of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Photo: Tot en Met ontwerpen
Atelier Boersma restores 'The three Marias at the grave' by Hubert van Eyck in the restoration workshop of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Photo: Tot en Met ontwerpen

Everything about this painting is strange!

This panel is colourful, exceptional and refined, and to allow it to be shown at its best, it has been removed from its frame and will now be cleaned, studied and restored. A video is being made about the restoration, exposing the unusual history of the painting.

Click here for more information about ‘The Road to Van Eyck’.