The RKD – Netherlands Institute for Art History invites MA-students, PhD-students, art historians,
conservators, and researchers to attend the seminar on the theory of thread counting and painting
canvases and the use of automated thread count and weave map software. This seminar is organized
on the occasion of the visit of the RKD Visiting Fellow in Computational Art History, Professor C.
Richard Johnson Jr. (Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute, Cornell Tech, New York City); and the online
RKD Studies publication: Counting Vermeer: Using Weave Maps to Study Vermeer’s Canvases to be
launched on www.rkdmonographs.nl in October 2017. This will be the first of a series of yearly
C. Richard Johnson, Jr. received the first PhD minor in Art History granted by Stanford University
along with a PhD in Electrical Engineering in 1977. Forty years later, he is the Jacobs Fellow in
Computational Arts and Humanities at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech (New
York, NY) and the Geoffrey S. M. Hedrick Senior Professor of Engineering at Cornell University (Ithaca,
NY). In the past decade professor Johnson has founded four multidisciplinary, multi-institutional,
pioneering projects in the new field of computational art history. Their aim is the development of
computer-based procedures assisting in the matching of manufactured patterns in art supports:
canvas thread count automation (in 2007), historic photographic paper classification (in 2010), laid
paper chain line pattern marking and matching (in 2012), and watermark identification in
Rembrandt’s etchings (in 2015). Professor Johnson has co-authored several papers arising from these
Attending the seminar is free; coffee, drinks, public lecture and field trip are included. The number of
attendants however is limited to 20 (except for the public lecture). Bringing your own laptop with
internet connection is required. Participants are expected to have read the RKD Studies publication
Counting Vermeer upon the start of the seminar. The spoken language will be English.
To apply for the seminar, please send a motivation letter (max ½ A4) and your Curriculum Vitae to
Sytske Weidema (email@example.com). Deadline for submission is 27 October 2017. After your
submission we will contact you soonest to inform you on your admission to the seminar.
Mon. 6 November – RKD
13:30-14:00 Coffee (with welcome by professor Chris Stolwijk, General Director of the RKD)
14:00-16:30 “The Life of a Painting’s Canvas: Weaving to Weave Maps”
The progression of a painting’s canvas from manufacture to thread counting & weave
maps. Includes a 15 minutes break.
Tue. 7 November – RKD
14:00-16:30 “Thread Counting and Weave Mapping Tools”
Workshop on using software to assist manual and automated thread counting (that
produces weave maps) and on preparing reports on the results.
Participants work in pairs and on their own laptops. Includes a 15 minutes break.
Wed. 8 November – Field trip, Mauritshuis
13:45-16:00 Field trip to the Vermeer-collection & conservation studio (no break)
Thu. 9 November – RKD
13:00-14:00 “The impact of Weave Maps and Automated Thread Count on art historical research”
(lecture by Michiel Franken, Curator Technical Documentation / Rembrandt &
Rembrandt School, RKD)
14:00-16:30 “Algorithmic Thinking in Developing a Procedure for Weave Map Match Hunting”
Participants present reports and engage in the use of weave map match hunting
between teams. Participants work on their own laptop. Includes a 15 minutes break.
Fri. 10 November – Mauritshuis, Nassauzaal
15:00-16:00 “Counting Vermeer” – public lecture