Investigation Workshop of Rode Altarpiece

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Retable of the High Altar of St Nicholas’ Church, workshop of the Lübeck master Hermen Rode, 1478-1481

Workshop results

Dates: 20–23 October 2014

Venues:

20–21 October 2014
Niguliste Museum, Art Museum of Estonia, Tallinn
Number of participants: not limited

Event registration is finished.

22–23 October 2014
Chair of Analytical Chemistry, University of Tartu
Number of participants: max 12

Event registration is finished.

Target group:
Students (PhD and MA level) and professionals dealing with conservation, conservation science and (technical) art history. See requirements below.

Credits: 1–4 ECTS

Hosting institutions: Department of Conservation and Cultural Heritage, Estonian Academy of Arts; Chair of Analytical Chemistry, University of Tartu; Art Museum of Estonia; Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts (GSCSA)

Programme directors: Dr Signe Vahur (Chair of Analytical Chemistry, University of Tartu); Dr Hilkka Hiiop (Estonian Academy of Arts/Art Museum of Estonia)

Programme manager: Dr Anneli Randla (Estonian Academy of Arts)

Student coordinator: Ms Heili Sõrmus (Estonian Academy of Arts) mailtoheili.sormus@artun.ee%20">heili.sormus@artun.ee

Guest lecturers: Dr Ulla Knuutinen (Dr. Docent at Helsinki University and at Jyväskylä University), Prof emer Anne van Grevenstein (University of Amsterdam), Prof Ivo Leito (Professor of Analytical Chemistry, University of Tartu)

 

Background

The retable of St Nicholas’ Church in Tallinn is one of the most magnificent and best preserved late medieval Northern German altarpieces in Europe. The artwork was commissioned from the workshop of the Lübeck master Hermen Rode and was completed between 1478 and 1481. More than forty saints and biblical figures are depicted in the retable and its dimensions place it among the largest retables from the 15th-century Hanseatic cities. The conservation of the high altar of St Nicholas’ Church took place from 1975 to 1992 and was led by Nikolai Bregman, the leading restorer then in Soviet Union from Moscow. Although majority of the restoration was accomplished, the elaborate sculptures of the retable have only partly been conserved by today.

The large-scale project initiated by the Art Museum of Estonia is focused on finalizing the conservation works of the altarpiece. The conservation project gives an excellent opportunity to carry out thorough technical research, to compare the results with other works attributed to Hermen Rode and to put the information in a wider context.

 

Workshop

Program of the event

The primary focus of the workshop is the investigation of the Rode altarpiece. Secondarily, the workshop sets an important goal of introducing different non-destructive and semi-destructive methods of instrumental analysis to the field of cultural heritage, weighing the effectiveness of each method and mapping the resources and methods available in Estonia in this field.

The first part of the workshop (two days) will take place in Niguliste Museum. Different methods of instrumental analysis based on the case studies will be introduced in the course of the two days by international specialists in the field. The second half of the workshop in Niguliste Museum will concentrate on the Rode altar – the object is surveyed, research questions are posed, methods of taking samples (including documentation) are introduced.

The second part of the workshop (two days) will take place in the laboratories of the Chair of Analytical Chemistry of the Institute of Chemistry and the Department of Geology of the University of Tartu. During the two days the samples taken from the altarpiece will be analysed, using the following instrumental methods – optical stereo microscope, the ATR-FT-IR spectrometer, the FT-IR microscope and the SEM-EDS device. Methods that cannot be applied in the course of the workshop will be introduced through reports by the participants.

 

Requirements for participation

Participation in the course is free of charge; accommodation and travel costs of the students of GSCSA will be reimbursed.

The language of the workshop is English and Estonian. Students are expected to do preparatory reading in order to participate in the investigation workshop.

Upon participation in all lectures and discussions (the morning sessions in Tallinn) graduate students will be awarded 1 ECT. The number of participants in the lectures is unlimited.

Upon participation in all lectures and practical workshops in Niguliste (the morning and afternoon sessions in Tallinn) the graduate students will be awarded 2 ECT. The number of participants in the workshops in Tallinn is unlimited.

Upon full participation in the programme – lectures and practical research workshops both in Tallinn and Tartu – graduate students will be awarded 4 ECTS. The number of participants in the practical workshop in Tartu is limited to 12.

The event is supported by the European Union through the European Social Fund (Estonian Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts) and Art Museum of Estonia.

 

Preparatory reading

If you wish to receive 1 ECTS, please read the following texts

1. web-page of van Eyck conservation project:

http://closertovaneyck.kikirpa.be

2.a. Tehniline kunstiajalugu – kunstiajaloo tehnikad? EST

2.b. Technical Art History – Technics of Art History? ENG

If you wish to receive 2 ECTS, please read additionally the following texts:

3. Townsend, Boon, 2012

4.Wolbers, Buck, Olley, 2012

If you wish to receive 4 ECTS, please read additionally the following texts:

(texts will be provided directly to your e-mail address)

5. Vahur, Sibul, Ehasalu, Sammelselg, Leito, 2009

6. Vahur, Teearu, Leito, 2009

7. Vahur, Knuutinen, Leito, 2009

8. Maguregui, Knuutinen, Arkarazo, Castro, Madariaga, 2011

9. Maguregui, Knuutinen, Arkarazo, Giakoumaki, Castro, Madariaga, 2012

10. Castro, Knuutinen, Vallejuelo, Irazola, Madariaga, 2013

11. Magurequi, Castro, Morillas, Trebolazabala, Knuutinen, Wiesinger, Schreiner, Madariaga, 2014

 

 

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