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 THE HAARLEM AND LEYDEN SCHOOL PAINTINGS IN THE COLLECTION OF THE SALZBURG RESIDENZGALERIE Participants/partners: Conservation Science Department Vienna Museum of Art History and University of Vienna follow link Historical and scientific research into Haarlem and Leyden school paintings from the Province of Salzburg's collection of Old Masters in the Residenzgalerie. source url The project includes Dutch paintings by Rembrandt and painters in his circle (1620s - 1640), with particular attention to the tonal painting of the Leyden and Haarlem schools.

Dr. Gabriele Groschner
Special Research officer
Province of Salzburg,
Department of Culture, Education and Society
Unit for Folk Culture, Cultural Heritage and Museums

and the Rembrandt school
Research project, Abt. 2
On the Province of Salzburg's collection of Old Masters paintings in the Residenzgalerie (DomQuartier)

Part 1
REMBRANDT. Beneath the paint

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, (1606 Leiden – 1669 Amsterdam)
Old Woman Praying, c 1629/1630
Oil on copper plate, 15.4 x 12.2 cm
Signed: R (?), inv. no.: 549

Project director: Gabriele Groschner
Co-operation partner: Natural Science Laboratory of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
Sponsor: XGLab. X and Gamma Ray Electronics, Milan
Sponsor: Province of Salzburg (Abt. 2; Referat 2/04)
New questions and investigative techniques into the working process and choice of materials afford new insights, allowing a different perspective – a look "under the skin" of Rembrandt's painting. Documented here for the first time are the master's initial ideas and the stages in the development of the picture.
The project traces provenance, painting materials, texture, genre (tronie), specific features of Rembrandt's character studies, methods and processes used in his workshop, contemporary critique, art-historical background and the artistic environment in Rembrandt's native town of Leiden.
The painting Old Woman Praying by Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn – also known as Rembrandt's Mother – is distinctive by virtue of the materials used. Painted on a gilded copper plate, the picture demonstrates the artist's outstanding technical skill. The small picture is a character study or a single-figure history painting, a "tronie", which became his preferred genre in Leiden. The empathy evinced by the artist in his portrayal of the model is exceptional.
The painting was purchased in 1980 for the collection of the Province of Salzburg, together with 69 other valuable pictures, from the Czernin collection in Vienna.
The Old Woman Praying  belongs to a series of three small-scale tronies painted on gilded copper plates. The other two are in the Mauritshuis, The Hague and the National Museum, Stockholm. The examination by the Rembrandt Research Project on 3 June 1970 found only the Salzburg painting to be unquestionably authentic. More recent examinations have revised the opinion on the other two.
The gilded copper plate – an extremely unusual picture support – is a special feature both in Rembrandt's œuvre and in the entire history of art.

The latest examinations of the Salzburg painting  indicate that there may be differences between it and the other two, particularly in respect of the preparation of the picture support.
The results of the research project will be published and presented in a didactic multi-media exhibition entitled REMBRANDT. Beneath the paint, running from 13 November 2016 until 26 June 2017 in the Residenzgalerie (DomQuartier). TECHNICAL EXAMINATIONS
The research project into Rembrandt’s painting Old Woman Praying began in 2014/15. In the summer of 2016, for the first time, comprehensive technical examinations were carried out using X-ray fluorescence analysis and infrared reflectography.
The results are available in the Rembrandt database (Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Dokumentatie – Netherlands Institute for Art History).
Infra-red reflectography
The infra-red reflectography was carried out by the restoration workshop of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
These images not only show Rembrandt’s masterly application of the numerous layers of paint, but also reveal traces of an underdrawing, indicating that Rembrandt initially intended a slightly different composition.
X-ray fluorescence analysis
X-ray fluorescence analysis has become an established method for analysing paintings, as its use causes no damage to the paint.
This analysis was carried out by Michele Gironda and Luca Bombelli from the company XGLab S.R.L. in Milan (a spin-off of the Politecnico di Milano), and evaluated by Dr. Katharina Uhlir from the natural science laboratory of the Kunsthistorisches Museum.


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