The RKD – Netherlands Institute for Art History invites MA-students, PhD-students, art historians, conservators, and researchers to attend the seminar Rembrandt’s European Papers on the theory of Computer-Assisted Classification of Watermarks and Chain Line Patterns for Moldmate Identification.
Beginning with assertions about the similarity of paper sold in the same batch, assumptions about the purchase and use of paper by Rembrandt’s studio, and claims about the retention of a sheet of paper’s physical dimensions during an existence over hundreds of years including decay and preservation, Rembrandt scholars have devised a strategy for estimating the production date of the various impressions of Rembrandt’s prints that relies on matching watermarks and chain line patterns in their antique laid paper supports made in Europe.
The basic premise is that the unique pair of watermarks in a pair of molds used in making European paper in the 17th century was only purchased for Rembrandt’s use in one sale and employed in one contiguous time interval. Thus, sheets of paper identified as made on the same pair of twin molds as evidenced by matching watermarks and surrounding chain line patterns should all have the same year (plus or minus one) of creation. This provides a chronology offering valuable insights into Rembrandt’s artistic development and production patterns.
Professor C. Richard Johnson Jr.
This seminar is organized on the occasion of the visit of the RKD Visiting Fellow in Computational Art History, Professor C. Richard Johnson Jr. (Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute, Cornell Tech, New York City).
C. Richard Johnson, Jr. received the first PhD minor in Art History granted by Stanford University along with a PhD in Electrical Engineering in 1977. Forty years later, he is the Jacobs Fellow in Computational Arts and Humanities at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech (New York, NY) and the Geoffrey S. M. Hedrick Senior Professor of Engineering at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY). In the past decade professor Johnson has founded four multidisciplinary, multi-institutional, pioneering projects in the new field of computational art history. Their aim is the development of computer-based procedures assisting in the matching of manufactured patterns in art supports: canvas thread count automation (in 2007), historic photographic paper classification (in 2010), laid paper chain line pattern marking and matching (in 2012), and watermark identification in Rembrandt’s etchings (in 2015).