Detailed imaging with the Microdome of the Enclosed Gardens (16th century), Mechelen

Detailed imaging of the Enclosed Gardens (16th century), Mechelen

Detailed imaging of the Enclosed Gardens (16th century), Mechelen

Detailed imaging with the Microdome of the Enclosed Gardens within the framework of documentation, conservation en preservation project of the 16th century retables (2014-2016)

The Municipal Museums of Mechelen (Belgium) take care of a remarkable collection of seven Horti Conclusi (Enclosed gardens) dated from the 16th century. This collection belonged to the former convent of Mechelen’s Hospital Sisters. The Enclosed Gardens are rather unusual and extremely rare pieces of art that were mainly fabricated and conserved in the city of Mechelen. These Masterpieces are unique: few have survived and there is no comparable example of a similar well conserved coherent collection of Enclosed Gardens. It is therefore not a surprise that they are recognised as Flemish Masterpieces by the Flemish Government.

The Enclosed Gardens are testimonials of a high artistic quality and are the result of years of patient religious handycraft and an extraordinary tangible expression of a devotional tradition. Apart from the painted panels with saints and patrons and altarpieces with polychrome figures (well known poupées de Malines), the Enclosed Gardens contain textiles, metals, relics, glass, parchment and paper, wax and pipeclay, fragments of bone etc. For the Hospital Sisters these retables were a way to experience their devotion and spirituality.

2014: Report on Portable Light Dome in Cuneiform Studies

Hendrik Hameeuw 2014: Portable Light Dome System, from registration to online publication within the hour: status quaestionis Portable Light Dome project for cuneiform documents

Portable Light Dome System - From Registration to Online Publication within the Hour_titlepage

Reflectance imaging has proven its value over the past decade. Thanks to this imaging technique cultural heritage artefacts can now be studied and presented in ways which were/are inconceivable with established digital photography. Research centres and users groups all over the world have experimented with the approach. Cuneiform studies in particular have benefited from these new possibilities. Throughout the development of this technology clay tablets with inscribed text and impressed seals were recorded with different methods in the reflectance imaging arsenal.

This report, a status quaestionis, gives a overview of the accomplishments of the Portable Light Dome system over the last years within the field of Cuneiform Studies and it confronts the approach with other imaging technique common for that field.

New book conservation friendly microdome presented during the Conference Workshop of Inside Illuminations

Museum Plantin Moretus, The Bible of Conrad von Vechta, Bohemia, 1402

Museum Plantin Moretus, The Bible of Conrad von Vechta, Bohemia, 1402

On Friday 6th of June 2014, the RICH workshop was attended by the participants of the Brussels conference Inside Illuminations, Art Technical Research and the Medieval Manuscripts. The conference was organized by Illuminare (Centre for the Study of Medieval Art, KU Leuven), the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (Brussels), and UCL (Louvain-la-Neuve). http://org.kikirpa.be/illuminations/

A RICH project poster, illustrated the collaboration of the team with the Museum Plantin-Moretus, Antwerp ( Unesco World Heritage). De presentation illustrated the imaging of one of the masterpieces of the collection: Monitoring illuminations and gilding characteristics with the RICH Minidome, The Bible of Conrad von Vechta, Bohemia, 1402

InsideIlluminations2_small

The conference Inside Illuminations was a meeting intended to advance interdisciplinary research on technical art history and the medieval illuminated manuscript by providing a forum for scholars working on specific manuscripts, on illuminators’ practice and on recently developed research tools and databases. During the workshop, Marc Proesman (ESAT), Bruno Vandermeulen (Digital Imaging Lab) and Lieve Watteeuw (Arts & Illuminare) documented recent developments in hard- and software, followed with detailed case-studies in imaging of graphic materials.

On this occasion, the RICH presented the new prototype of the microdome, developed with a smaller cupola of 30 cm holding 220 white LEDs. For book conservation reasons, a slice of the microdome can be removed, allowing the tool to monitor into the gathering of a book (opening at 100°). The Microdome is mounted on a specially adapted conservation book cradle, designed by the university of Graz in Austria. Fragile books with delicate bindings can be monitored through RTI, without risk to stress or damage. Light suction on a bar is flattening gently the paper or parchment folios during the three minutes of imaging.

Study stay and imaging @ Schøyen Collection

Inside the Portable Light Dome, scanning a 5000 year old cuneiform tablet

Inside the Portable Light Dome, scanning a 5000 year old cuneiform tablet, image with iPhone4 + wide angle

From 14 till 16 May 2014 IAP researchers Anne Devillers and Hendrik Hameeuw worked, studied and imaged a part of the Schøyen Collection in Norway. For 3 days they were granted access to the Uruk IV-III cuneiform tablets & bullae and to the stamp seal collection. This exceptional material fits in their ongoing research on glyptic studies and joins with WP V (History and Chronology) & WP VI (Imaging and Technology) of the IAP 7/14.

In total all of the 4th/3rd millenium stamp seals were described and scanned in bulk with the Portable Light Dome. Of the almost 400 Uruk period cuneiform tablets 28 exemplars carried traces of cylinder seal impressions; as for the stamp seals, they were described in detail and scanned. Back in Brussels and Leuven the further study will be continued with help of these descriptions and by consulting the images made with the Portable Light Dome.

The aim of the research stay is to prepare a publication on the glyptic material in the Schøyen Collection, in the first place, for the seal impression on the Uruk IV-III tablets. This work will be undertaken in close collaboration with Bob Englund of the UCLA (CDLI project, one of the IAP 7/14 international partners) who took the responsibility to publish the Uruk period texts of the collection.

 

A cylinder seal impression depicting a walking lion on a Uruk Period clay table

A cylinder seal impression depicting a walking lion on a Uruk Period clay table

Portable Light Dome image of the tablet above (with color-sharpen visualization)

Portable Light Dome image of the tablet above (with color-sharpen visualization)