Grants awarded through the Panel Paintings Initiative fell into several categories, with the majority of funded projects focused on sustained training through the conservation of prominent works of art. The training workshops complemented hands-on training by focusing on the historic context of panel paintings, including the development of panel production and wood science and technology. The translation projects focused on translating into English several key texts that are critical to the field of panel paintings conservation and making them freely accessible through online publication.

Needs Assessment


Statens Museum for Kunst, Denmark, Copenhagen
One of the first grants in the Panel Paintings Initiative allowed experts at the Statens Museum for Kunst to complete a survey of the field and needs assessment to update information on the most significant collections of panel paintings, the current level of their care, the individuals who would benefit most from training, and the number of conservators who would likely find employment in the field. The survey results provided a clear roadmap for the initiative, setting a goal of training up to 20 conservators through training projects, institutes, and technical workshops. The survey also indicated a need for greater access to training for professionals from Central and Eastern Europe charged with the care of panel paintings collections. Grant funds included support for travel bursaries for conservators and curators to attend a 2009 Panel Paintings Symposium at the Getty organized jointly by the GCI, the Getty Foundation, and the Getty Museum.
Grant awarded: DKK1,331,000 (2008)

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Training Projects

The Ghent Altarpiece, detail

Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, The Hague
Considered the most important work of early Netherlandish painting in existence, the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, or Ghent Altarpiece, painted in 1432 by Jan and Hubert van Eyck for Saint Bavo Cathedral in Ghent, Belgium was in serious need of care. A series of Getty Foundation grants supported conservation planning, examination, and training related to a thorough condition assessment and emergency stabilization of the altarpiece. The project resulted in an innovative new web application, Closer to Van Eyck, that allows users to study high-resolution images produced during and after conservation treatment and zoom into over 100 billion pixels of the altarpiece, creating new possibilities for conservation documentation.
Grants awarded: €172,000; €59,400 (2010); €66,000 (2011); €143,000 (2013, to the Churchwardens of St. Bavo Cathedral)

Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Florence, Italy
Composed of five large panels, Giorgio Vasari's Last Supper (1546) was one of the most damaged artworks to survive the Florence flood of 1966. A 2010 grant resulted in the structural treatment and stabilization of this monumental painting, which included side-by-side training opportunities with leading experts at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure (OPD). A second grant allowed OPD conservators to complete an additional series of training residencies through the treatment of four significant panel paintings: Simone Martini's Crucifix (ca. 1321-1325); Fra Angelico's San Marco Altarpiece (ca. 1438-1443); Leonardo da Vinci's Adoration of the Magi (1482); and Alessandro Allori's Christ on the Cross between the Virgin and Saint John (ca. 1550-1555).
Grants awarded: €300,000 (2010); €383,000 (2013)

Bosch, Ascent into Heaven
 
Stichting Noordbrabants Museum
A 2013 Getty grant supported training residencies for two post-graduate level conservators related to the treatment of three multi-panel works by Hieronymus Bosch. Upon completion of the project, the paintings were included in the 2016 Bosch retrospective at the Noordbrabants Museum on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the artist's death. A second Getty grant supported the development of boschproject.org, an interactive web application that allows art historians, conservators, and the public to compare detailed images of nearly 40 Bosch paintings and drawings from 26 collections across Europe and North America.
Grants awarded: €145,400 (2013); €175,000 (2013)

Kunsthistorisches Museum mit Museum für Völkerkunder und Österreichischem Theatermuseum
The Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna received an initial grant in 2012 to complete a training project related to six paintings by Pieter Brueghel the Elder from the museum's unparalleled collection of works by the great Netherlandish painter. Over the course of two years, ten conservators received training by working alongside experts on condition assessments and the development of structural treatment protocols. A second grant awarded in 2014 focused on training conservators from Central and Eastern Europe through the structural treatment of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio's David and Goliath (ca. 1600) and Peter Paul Rubens's Stormy Landscape (ca. 1625).
Grant awarded: €190,000 (2012) and €300,000 (2014)


Courtauld Institute of Art, London
The Courtauld in London received a Panel Paintings grant to support training activities related to the conservation treatment of Gerino da Pistoia's Virgin with Child and Saints (1510) and condition assessments of three other paintings, including Sandro Botticelli's Holy Trinity (ca. 1494). The project prepared two conservators at the Courtauld to assume the training mantle and also provided shorter residencies at the postgraduate level for conservators from Central and Eastern Europe.
Grant awarded: $231,000 (2012)

Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, Poland
This two-year training program provided advanced training for conservators from Eastern Europe through the treatment of six panels by Hans Süss von Kulmbach, the most prominent apprentice of Albrecht Dürer. The project grew out of a 2010 Summer Institute in Krakow, which led the Academy to seek further professional development for its staff to bring them in line with international standards for panel paintings conservation. Midway through the treatment, organizers also held a week-long training institute on panel paintings conservation for professionals from Central and Eastern Europe.
Grant awarded: $239,600 (2012)

Rubens, Triumph of the Eucharist
 
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid
In 1626, Peter Paul Rubens completed one of the most important commissions of his lifetime—a suite of finished oil sketches on wood known as the Triumph of the Eucharist series. Six panels from the series had been preserved at the Prado Museum, but earlier structural interventions had caused cracks, deformations, and uneven surfaces in the wood, threatening the painted surfaces. The Prado's 2011 grant supported training for seven conservators through the structural treatment of these significant paintings. A second grant supported postgraduate training related to the treatment of three 16th-century Flemish genre paintings by Joachim Beuckelaer and Marinus van Reymerswaele, ideal case studies for postgraduates given the paintings' unique structural problems.
Grants awarded: €270,000 (2011); €110,000 (2013)

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
An early grant in the Getty's Panel Painting Initiative was directed toward the treatment of Albrecht Dürer's Adam and Eve (1507) diptych. The project was a collaboration between conservators at the Prado Museum in Madrid and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and it resulted in the training of three younger conservators. In 2011, the Met received a second grant to host three postgraduate training residencies in the structural conservation of paintings on panel. One fellow at a time worked closely alongside Met conservators in one of the most preeminent conservation studios in the United States.
Grants awarded: $134,000 (2008); $224,600 (2011)

Royal Museums of Fine Arts, Brussels
The Royal Museums of Fine Arts, Brussels hosted four training residencies to assist with treatment activities related to nine works in its collection, including paintings by Cranach the Elder, Jacob Cuyp, Dirck van Delen, and Pieter Aertsen. Trainees gained exposure to a wide variety of structural conservation techniques and had the opportunity to connect with other leading experts in the field through periodic convenings at the museum to discuss treatment protocols.
Grant awarded: €280,000 (2011)

University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge's Hamilton Kerr Institute (HKI) and its London Ebury Street Studio received a 2011 grant for three postgraduate training residencies related to the treatment of paintings from the Royal Collection of the United Kingdom. Trainees acquired skills in the application of non-invasive stabilization techniques that have been developed by leading conservators from HKI and its Ebury Street Studio over the past three decades. A second grant trained postgraduates on the treatment of 11 additional paintings from the Royal Collection, including Lucas Cranach the Elder's Judgment of Solomon (1519).
Grants awarded: £90,000 (2013); £138,000 (2011)

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Institutes and Technical Workshops

Training institute and treatment at the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD)
With Getty support SKD organized and hosted a ten-day institute to introduce best practices in the structural conservation of panel paintings to 28 curators and conservators from Germany and Central and Eastern Europe. The program included theoretical and practical topics, visits to local collections and conservation laboratories, and hands-on workshops that involved both curators and conservators as equal partners in treatment decisions. The project also incorporated treatment of works in the SKD collections, including Bartholomäus Sarburgh's Madonna of the Basel Mayor Jacob Meyer zum Hasen (1637).
Grant awarded: £166,000(2012)

Stichting Restauratie Atelier Limburg (SRAL), Netherlands
SRAL received support to develop three workshops specifically designed for the postgraduate trainees of the Panel Paintings Initiative. The workshops complemented the project-based training provided through other Getty grants and focused on providing a deeper understanding of the historic context of panel paintings conservation. The workshops strengthened the postgraduates' professional networks, allowing them to come together as a group and meet colleagues at the premier institutions working in the structural conservation of panel paintings.
Grant awarded: €180,000 (2013)

Statens Museum for Kunst, Denmark, Copenhagen
A grant awarded to the Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen supported a summer institute at the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow in 2010 that brought together 20 curators and conservators from the former Soviet Union, paired with Western European specialists, to introduce best practices in the structural conservation of panel paintings.
Grant awarded: €148,500 (2010)

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Translation of Key Resources

Conservators at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure work on Vasari's <i>Last Supper</i>

Opificio delle Pietre Dure (OPD), Florence, Italy
A 2013 training grant to the OPD, a leading center for the structural conservation of panel paintings and a key training partner, included support for the translation into English and online publication of a select group of its most important articles in the field of panel paintings conservation. The resulting e-book, Structural Conservation of Panel Paintings at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence: Method, Theory, and Practice, serves as a key resource in advancing best practices not only in the field of panel paintings conservation, but also in paintings conservation and the wider conservation community.

Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA), Brussels, Belgium
With Getty support, KIK-IRPA undertook the translation and online publication of Hélène Verougstraete's Cadres et supports dans la peinture flamande aux 15e et 16e siècles (1989). The book is a critical resource for conservators in determining structural treatment protocols, however it had originally been self-published in a small print run and only in French, both of which limited its accessibility.
Grant awarded: €100,000 (2013)

Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, Denmark
Experts at the Statens Museum for Kunst oversaw the translation and online publication of Jacqueline Marette's book Connaissance des primitifs par l'étude du bois du XIIe au XVIe siècle (1961). This resource remains the only volume that looks comprehensively at the production, techniques, conservation, and science of wood panels, yet it is difficult to access, as it was published in French over 50 years ago and had been long out of print.
Grant awarded: DKK680,000 (2013)

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Images (top to bottom): Conservators complete a surface refinement after repairs. Image courtesy Aline Genbrugge; Adoration of the Lamb from of the Ghent Altarpiece. Image courtesy http://closertovaneyck.kikirpa.be; Conservators and colleagues of the Old Masters Paintings Gallery Dresden discussing the condition of the The Madonna of the Burgomaster of Basel Jacob Meyer zum Hasen (copy by Bartholomäus Sarburgh after Hans Holbein the Younger) in the paintings conservation studio of SKD. From left to right: Marlies Giebe, Ray Marchant, Bernhard Maaz, Uta Neidhardt, Axel Börner, Christoph Schölzel. Image courtesy Hans-Peter Klut, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden; Conservators investigate one of the panels from Vasari's Last Supper. Image courtesy Opificio delle Pietre Dure