19 December 2019
Today, the RKD – Netherlands Institute for Art History (The Hague) – and CATS – Centre for Art Technological Studies and Conservation (Copenhagen) – are launching a new wood research platform, Dendro4Art, providing unique dendrochronological research data on panel paintings and wooden sculptures. This platform will become a global hub for dendrochronologists and art historians across the world, giving them access to extensive research data that includes raw data and information about dendrochronology. The platform explicitly invites users to share data themselves, helping to further strengthen the research community.
Raw data on dendrochronology
In April of this year, the RKD presented dendrochronological reports and work drawings drafted by Em. Prof. Dr. Peter Klein (University of Hamburg). At that time, the research community expressed a strong desire to also consult the raw data from the dendrochronological research – data that can also be used for further research by other scholars. Now, vast amounts of raw data, also known as measurement series, provided by Professor Klein will be freely available to the general public thanks to the collaboration between the RKD and CATS. The effort was made possible thanks to generous funds provided by the Danish Carlsberg Foundation.
Dendrochronology is the study of wooden objects, such as panel paintings, which focuses on the width of the annual growth rings in the wood. Climate conditions determines the width of each annual growth ring throughout the lifetime of a tree, resulting in unique variations in the widths of the growth rings specific to each time period and types of wood. Dendrochronologists compare these tree ring patterns, or measurement series, with growth ring chronologies from thousands of trees. In doing so, they are able to establish the precise geographical origins of wooden objects, as well as to date them.
Platform for scholars and interested parties
All this dendrochronological data can be freely downloaded via the Dendro4Art portal. It provides a platform for scholars to share information about dendrochronology and remain up to date on the subject, and also enables interested parties to learn more about dendrochronology. The hub is linked to the RKD’s (Netherlands Institute for Art History) databases. The RKD technical database contains vast volumes of dendrochronological research data, while RKDimages provides a wealth of art historical information on paintings studied. All these databases also provide links to information about the artists, archival information, and further research documentation.
This wealth of data at the heart of the RKD ensures that the dendrochronological data is safeguarded within a durable infrastructure. RKD and CATS therefore explicitly invite researchers to share their data via the Dendro4Art platform with the aim of providing a dynamic and ever-growing dendro-network.