All the available information about Rembrandts Titus, Tobit and Anna, The Concord of the State, Man in a Red Cap and the Portrait of Aletta Adriaensdochter can now be viewed online in The Rembrandt Database. The full art-historical information, the restoration history, high-resolution images of fronts and backs, paint sample research, X-ray photographs and other technical data are now freely accessible. The museum was asked to take part in the project by the RKD (Netherlands Institute for Art History), which received the funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in New York.
The RKD has been working on the development of The Rembrandt Database since 2008. In 2011 Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
was asked to add three paintings by Rembrandt from its collection and the two on long-term loan from the Willem van der Vorm Foundation to this extensive source of research. Researchers and others with an interest now have unfettered access to an immense wealth of information about Rembrandts works.
Important Information Revealed
The 1980 restoration report about the Concord of the State states, for example, that a cradle made of laths was removed from the back of the work because it was placing stress on the original panel and there was a danger that paint could flake off. In the X-ray photograph of Titus it can be seen that Rembrandts son did not originally have the unusual, dreamy look, but looks out of the painting quite differently. The fact that Aletta Adriaensdochters left hand, which seems to rest on the frame, is not original but added later can be found in the 1970 restoration report.
The Man in a Red Cap is a controversial painting which may or may not be attributed to Rembrandt. The paint samples, also in the database, reveal evidence of a quartz ground in the original priming coat and that cobalt glass was added in the dark paint layers. These are two very characteristic technical peculiarities of Rembrandts work.
Tobit and Anna is another work that is the subject of a fierce art-historical debate about the attribution to Rembrandt. The X-ray photograph can now be studied. It reveals that the artist painted the work on top of a completed still life, fish on a plate and a candlestick are clearly identifiable.
Database Under Development
Museums throughout the world with works by Rembrandt in their collections share their information with the RKD, making The Rembrandt Database a very extensive and important source of information for art historians. The current phase of the Rembrandt Database project runs until June 2014, by which time no fewer than a hundred paintings by Rembrandt will have been included.