Rogier van der Weyden, The Hague

Designed by: Studio Louter + OPERA Amsterdam
For client: Mauritshuis Floor area: 150.00 M² Year of completion: 2018
Submitted for: Exhibition of the Year

Tentoonstelling Weyden 01
© Ivo Hoekstra

The overview of the touch screen, the panorama and the reference painting, a loan from Florence

About the Project

The fifteenth century painting, the Lamentation of Christ, needed restoration. This masterpiece of the Flemish painter Rogier van der Weyden is the oldest painting in the collection of the Mauritshuis. The best way to communicate about the restoration, the painting and its history was to engage the visitor in the process by restoring the painting live. Together with the Mauritshuis and OPERA Amsterdam, Studio Louter created the exhibition’s concept and storyline. By restorating the painting live it’s beauty, refinement and the artist’s skill could get all the attention they deserved. A life-size interactive touchscreen enabled the visitor to zoom in on the painting to see everything to the smallest detail and scroll through different layers. Studio Louter also created the background information screens and a film in which the restorers tell about their interesting work and thoughts on restoring.

Visitors could experience the exposition while the restorers were working, but also when they were not working the installation was attracting the viewer because of the interactive presentation and the film about the process. This flexibility was a requirement because the restorers couldn’t naturally be at work during the whole day, and it was a welcome gift to the museum and the visitor. A lot of people revisited the museum to keep track of the progress.

What’s unique about it

This exhibition is unique because the visitor experiences the thinking process of the Mauritshuis’ renowned art historians and restorers. He can see what it takes to restore the artwork. He can ask questions and if the restorers are not around, the visitor can see more about the restorer’s work in a movie. The visitor can accompany the restorers in their search. For example, through X-ray scans on the touch screen we can witness the differences in the drawings Van der Weyden made on the canvas and the actual items he painted. In the displayed panorama the visitor can feel the excitement of the art historian’s research. The translucent walls of the restoration studio are also part of the openness the visitor experienced. To show the visitor what a painting of Rogier van der Weyden could look like, the Mauritshuis borrowed a work from the Uffizi Gallery (Florence) for the time the restoration was going on.

The Mauritshuis initiated a customers survey and the positive feedback was uplifting. Overall it scored almost 9.0, mainly because of the openness in presenting the restoration. People thought it was extraordinarily interesting and visited the Mauritshuis more than once to experience the process of the restoration. “It’s only now I realise what a painstaking work this is!” was the most heard remark. The duality in the visit, to experience the restoration personally and also learn more about the painter and the painting in the exposition, made it even more relevant.

Tentoonstelling Weyden 04
© Ivo Hoekstra

The restoration studio, with the translucent walls.

Tentoonstelling Weyden 05
© Ivo Hoekstra

The restorers in their studio, which can be closed with translucent walls and where the visitor can ask questions while the restorers are at work.

Tentoonstelling Weyden 07
© Ivo Hoekstra

The restoration process while the restorers are working live

Tentoonstelling Weyden 08
© Ivo Hoekstra

The rounded wall, panorama, with the interactive screen in the middle.

Tentoonstelling Weyden 12
© Ivo Hoekstra

The restorer explains her work to visitors.

Location of project:
Studio Louter

OPERA Amsterdam

Barend Verheijen

Jeroen Luttikhuis / Jo Pike

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