The Technique

The project is a groundbreaking combination of new scientific examination with established Flemish art historical practices. Fresh archival research in Belgian and other archives and the scientific results will lead to new discoveries on the lives and works of Anthony Van Dyck and Jacques Jordaens; the chronology of their paintings, their collaboration with each other, their relationship to the studio of Rubens and new information on Antwerp panel making and makers.

A non/micro-invasive dendrochronological examination determines the possible felling date of the trees that were made into the panels and, therefore, the approximate date of their use by the painters and their studios. An analysis of the growth rings of the tree will also allow the project to identify which smaller panels were cut from a larger panel, where matches can be found.

A sample dendrochronological report, examining the Ashmolean Museum’s Charles I and the Knights of the Garter in Procession, can be downloaded by clicking here (1 Mb. PDF).

Dr. Andrea Seim cleans the edge of the panel ('Adoration of the Shepherds' by Jordaens) to reveal the tree rings for measuring, with the Head of Conservation at the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum, Braunschweig, Dr. Hildegard Kaul, 15 May 2018
The hands and castle of the Antwerp brand mark (above) and panel maker's mark of Guilliam Aertsen (below)

The panel makers’ individual punch marks and the quality control brand marks of the Antwerp Guild of St. Luke are examined, collated and identified. These can also assist with the dating of a wood panel. For example, through examining the paintings and undertaking new archival research, we have discovered previously unknown panel makers and the years during which they worked.

JVDPPP is travelling to examine over 300 oil paintings on wood panel by or related to Van Dyck and Jordaens in 133 public and private collections in 20 countries. To date, the team has studied 258 paintings in 14 countries, from the National Gallery in London to the Museo de Arte de Ponce in Puerto Rico.

JVDPPP is actively searching for paintings on wood panel by Van Dyck and Jordaens in public and private collections to examine. Please contact us if you have a painting which can contribute to this innovative project.