• Cécile Graven

The Secret of the Master… (2)

Dear Readers,

here is the second episode of my posts about Het Geheim van de Meester.

Enjoy please.

It is a fascinating show.

You see how they discover with what paint the original is painted.

Sometimes they have receipes of bought paints and then they go to the shop the artist did do the shopping  in or they chemically analyze a sliver of paint and look for known recepies or based upon the analyse Charlotte Caspers tries out which paint she must use.

For instance Vincent van Gogh used a lot of Meekrap in one of his self-portraits . Meekrap looses its colour by being exposed to daylight/uv-light.So the red and orange in his face and hair must have been very very powerful. But the light has bleached it. So Charlotte has to paint that very very red she has never seen in the original and can only see if she did it right untill after her painting has been made ‘old’. ( In a machine with lots of UV-light). And ofcourse the person making it old must know what he is doing very very well. One minute too much and all work will be for nothing.

( I have told Charloote Caspers that I did write this blog. She was kind enough to react to my mail. She has one correction for it: ” Ik heb 1 kleine aanmerking: in het van Goghs  zelfportret dat ik vorig jaar schilderde, was de verkleurde rode lak niet meekrap, maar cochenille. “.  Meaning: I have 1 little correction: In the selfportrait of Vincent van Gogh I painted last year the red colour was not meekrap but cochenille . )

painting 05 Van Gogh selfportrait

It is fascinating to see where Van Gogh did buy his paints when he was in Paris ( living with his brother Theo) and see that shop and hear what the owner of the shop ( often 4th, 5th or more generations family bussinesses) knows about the making of paints.  I will show you this picture when I have told the story about it.

The man  Berd Visscher knowing all about framings has to find out all about the framings. Most frames are made of wood and (gilded) plaster. Sometimes he is able to find the maker of the frame ( yes, also often family-bussinesses) and sometimes even the original molds for the plaster. But sometimes he has to copy by himself the frame.

One of the paintings they did copy was the Victory Boogie Woogie by Mondriaan. He did paint it in New York. As you know that painting was never finished and he used slivers of paper on which he painted his corrections or he used coloured tape.

Jasper Krabbé went to New York to find exactly the tape Mondriaan has used. That tape was manufactured in about 1930. Finally he comes into a hardware store whose owner says: “ I don’t know if we have that old tape, but there is a place in the storage with boxes filled with things my grandfather has not been able to sell. Go and have a look.”

And lo and behold, they find a small cardboard box with all colours of the tapes in it !

second painting, Mondriaan’s Victory Boogie Woogie

To me the most interesting part is to watch how Charlotte finds out which brushes to use and how the painter did use his brush(es), to find out how he made his strokes.

They go very far with making the copy as much a look alike of the original.

One of the paintings of van Gogh was painted over an older painting.

07 Van Gogh stilllive

It could be seen on a röntgen-picture. He did make that older painting when he was a student of painting in Belgium. (He failed there, his art was not good enough they did think.) The structure of that old painting was visible in some parts of the newer painting and some colour of it had become visible in the cracquele/cracks of the newer painting. They could see that the painting was about two wrestlers, but of one of them the face could not be seen in the X-ray picture.

So Jasper goes to the Academy where Van Gogh made this painting and in the archives there was a painting from a painter who did study there the same time as Van Gogh was. So they took pictures of that painting, but than still they did not know if that painter did paint the faces realistic. But the Academy also has in it archives pictures of all the models that have sit in those classes to be painted. And so they did find what the man without the face realy looked like.

Charlotte first had to paint that older painting and over it she had to paint the newer painting.

And when that painting was made old and was as good as the original then something else must be done.

A few years back this painting was attacked by a madman with a knife. And it was restored.

So they did make the same 2 cuts in the painting. And restored it. And it was very hard to see what was the original and what the copy. I couldn’t see it but even the museumman had a hard time although ofcourse he knows the original very very well.

Three more episodes were about Johannes Vermeer

episode 1 Vermeer, girl with the pearl

and  Rembrandt

3th episode. Rembrandt selfportrait

Jeroen Bosch

I do not know if people from abroad can see what has been on Dutch television allready, but I will give you the url anyway:  https://www.npo.nl/het-geheim-van-de-meester/01-09-2016/AT_2062161

And ofcourse here is the url to the site of Charlotte Caspers who, I think, has proven herself over and over to be a Master.


Hope you have enjoyed this story.

Thanks for taking the time to read all of this :).

And as always: comments and likes are realy appreciated.








#Rembrandt #Mondriaan #Bosch #kopie #CharlotteCaspers #VictoryBoogieWoogie #DutchMasters #JasperKrabbé #HetgeheimvandeMeester #Thesecretof #copy #VanGogh #Vermeer

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