Past projects

Below you can find a selection of completed RICH-projects that had a strong link with society.

Exhibition - Caravaggio masterpieces on display in the Netherlands

From 16 December 2018 to 24 March 2019, the exhibition Utrecht, Caravaggio and Europe was on display in the Centraal Museum Utrecht. RICH researcher and art historian Prof. Volker Manuth contributed by collecting and curating pieces for this unique exhibition. He was also involved in composing the exhibition catalogue.

At the start of the Dutch Golden Age, Rome was the centre of the world. Young painters from across Europe made their way to the Eternal City, where – so the rumour went – the painter Caravaggio (1571-1610) had caused a revolution. New realism in the art of painting, unparalleled drama, grand gestures and mysteries of light: everyone wanted to see it for themselves. Among these artists were the Utrecht painters Dirck van Baburen, Hendrick ter Brugghen and Gerard van Honthorst.

Utrecht, Caravaggio and Europe brought the Rome of 1600 to 1630 to Utrecht. Presenting seventy masterpieces, the exhibition was the first to display the Utrecht Caravaggists alongside their European counterparts. The exhibition comprised over sixty loan pieces from museums and private collections across Europe and the United States, including the Vatican Museums, the Louvre (Paris), the Galleria degli Uffizi (Florence), the National Gallery of Art of London and the National Gallery of Art of Washington DC.

To make this exhibition possible, curator Liesbeth Helmus from Centraal Museum Utrecht and Volker Manuth initiated a collaboration with the Alte Pinakothek in Munich.

Exhibition - Ik, Maria van Gelre

From 13 October 2018 to 6 January 2019 it was possible to get to know Maria van Gelre extensively: because of the many paral6lels she can be seen as the Máxima of the 15th century. Her beautifully illustrated prayer book, for example, was one of the greatest medieval art treasures in the Netherlands. The exhibition 'I, Maria van Gelre' was organised in close collaboration with Radboud University. This first major exhibition on the Duchess was based on new, multidisciplinary research into the life of this almost modern, self-assured medieval queen.

During the exhibition, visitors went on a journey through the life of Maria van Gelre based on more than 100 (art) objects, including many artistic masterpieces from international collections that have never before been exhibited in the Netherlands. The highlight was a selection of 40 pages from her extensive prayer book, specially restored for the exhibition, which is largely kept in the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin and is rarely loaned out due to5 its fragility. Thanks to large-scale restoration, this was now possible for the first time, especially for the exhibition.

In addition to her prayer book, miniatures, manuscripts, paintings, textiles, jewellery, sculpture, stained-glass windows, and statues of saints were displayed.

Read more about the exhibit in the Dutch newspaper De Gelderlander.

Database creation - Stalla - Medieval choir stalls & digital technology

Medieval choir stalls tell a story. About how churches were used, about religious and profane symbolism but also about skilled artisans. The Centre for Art Historical Documentation (CKD) developed the database Stalla. More than 9.000 images of medieval choir stalls have been put online. The aim of the digital collection is to support scientific research into these objects and the late medieval visual language.

Thanks to finachoir stallsncial support from the Mastboom-Brosens Foundation and together with Waag, CKD looked for a new way to make their research relevant to a larger audience through the use of digital technology. Waag, using the meSch (Material EncounterS with digital Cultural Heritage) platform, developed a prototype of a mobile application. The prototype takes the form of an interactive prayer book that invites the visitor of a church to visit the choir and to delve into the context of this specific area and its choir stalls. Short-term pilots in the Grote Kerk in Breda and the Sint-Catharinakerk in Hoogstraten were set up to evaluate the prototype among visitors.

After this first pilot, CKD and Waag are planning to turn the prototype into a product for the churches in Breda and Hoogstraten, and hope to expand their project to other churches as well.

Database creation - Surinamese slave registers

Slave registers

The Surinamese slave registers are unique: there is nowhere else in the world that such detailed information on an entire enslaved population was kept. In the registers, there are records of roughly 80,000 people who lived in slavery in Suriname between 1830 and 1863, when slavery was abolished. Everyone who lived in slavery in Suriname was recorded in the slave register (as well as all slave owners). Slave owners were required to register their slaves, including their date of birth, mother’s name, and any changes such as birth, death, liberation, sale, leprosy, or other information that was important for the status and value of the slaves.

Crowdfunding for creating an online database
In Januari 2017, initiators Coen van Galen (Radboud University) and Maurits Hassankhan (Anton de Kom University of Suriname) began crowdfunding and recruiting volunteers to transfer information from the slave registers to a database. After the slave registers were scanned by the Surinamese National Archives in the spring of 2017, the volunteers began their work in June 2017. They completed the task in less than five months.

As of 1 July the slave register database is publicly available on the websites of both the Surinamese and Dutch National Archives.

Exhibition - Hieronymus Bosch - Visions of genius

Bosch research

In 2016, the Bosch Research and Conservation Project (BRCP), initiated by art historian Jos Koldeweij, came to fruition. The main outcome of the project was the exhibition Hieronymus Bosch – Visions of genius, curated by Jos Koldeweij together with Matthijs Ilsink. Koldeweij and Ilsink also authored the accompanying exhibition catalogue. Held from 13 February to 8 May 2016 in the Noordbrabants Museum in ’s Hertogenbosch, the exhibition attracted more than 400,000 (international) visitors and was awarded ‘Exhibition of the Year’ by the prestigious British art magazine Apollo.

The interdisciplinary group of scholars and scientists participating in the BRCP used modern techniques to examine all of Bosch’s paintings and his studio, plus the most important works attributed to Bosch in the past. Results were published in a two-part academic monograph of more than a thousand pages. Source material on the painter in an online database with nearly 1000 documents is freely available to anyone who wants to know more about the life and work of the artist.