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ARTECHNE – Technique in the Arts, 1500-1950


Brill-Nuncius seminar: recorded

On the 29th and 30th of April 2021, the Brill-Nuncius seminar on The Making of Conservation Science took place. This seminar was organized by prof. dr. Sven Dupré (Utrecht University, University of Amsterdam) and dr. Esther van Duijn (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam).

This seminar focused on the disciplinary formation of conservation science in the post-World War II period. While the first half of the twentieth century witnessed the modest beginnings of a science-based conservation practice, the first museum laboratories, and the introduction of new technologies for the investigation and conservation of art (such as X-radiography  and UV imagery), the second half of the twentieth century saw the consolidation of the developments that started before WWII with the establishment of international organizations (e.g. ICOM-CC), journals (e.g. Studies in Conservation, National Gallery Technical Bulletin), and institutes (e.g. the KIK-IRPA) in which the place of conservation science was negotiated. The seminar considered the post-World War II – period up to the 1970s when some conservation theorists, confronted with the processual and intangible aspects of contemporary art, questioned the dominance and principles of science-based conservation. The focus of the seminar is on diverse actors, including scientists and science policy-makers, collectors and conservators, museum professionals and administrators, and the institutional contexts in which these actors operated (e.g. museums, universities, laboratories, conservation studios).

This seminar is funded by the Descartes Centre (Utrecht University) and Brill Publishers.

Here you can find the full programme of the seminar, including the names of the speakers and short summaries of their lectures.


Brill-Nuncius seminar – Day 1.mp4 from Brill-Nuncius on Vimeo.


Brill-Nuncius seminar -Day 2 from Brill-Nuncius on Vimeo.