Profile: Marjolijn Bol
Assistant Professor of Art History
Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Art History, Open University Netherlands, lecturer art history and conservation & restoration, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Marjolijn Bol’s research interests focus on the interdependence of the history of materials, techniques and science with the history of art. In January 2012she defended her PhD thesis in art history at Utrecht University, entitled: Oil and the Translucent: Varnishing and glazing in practice, recipes and historiography, 1100-1600. Her study shows how the history of the discovery and use of the transparent properties of oil as a medium for painting is both crucial in understanding the nature of medieval panel painting and its emancipation from the fifteenth century onwards.
NoteStreams By Marjolijn Bol
‘When will France […] learn that champagne should be drunk with roast meat and not introduced as an incubus after dinner’ demanded a letter in The Times in September 1860.
Fifteen years later in 1899, the wine writer Louis Feuerheerd reiterated his objections to this ‘fashionable’ practice on the grounds that ‘champagne does not go with everything’. So what drove this change and what were the implications for the dinner table?
By Graham Harding (Oxford)
Graham Harding returned to the study of history after a career spent in publishing, advertising and marketing. Having completed an M Phil in Cambridge, he is now a final-year D Phil student at St Cross College, Oxford. He has written several books including The Wine Miscellany (2005). More recently he has published on champagne, on the nature of connoisseurship in wine in the nineteenth century and on the nineteenth-century wine trade.
This post is part of the European Institute for the History and Cultures of Food (IEHCA) series “Summer University on Food and Drink Studies”
The Recipes Project
This recipe describing how to dye wool a golden color is just one example of the many sources on art technology that have come down to us as from as early as 2000 BCE.
For art historians, one of the most important and best-known ‘recipe books’ is Cennino Cennini’s (c. 1370 – c. 1440) Il Libro dell’arte (The Craftman’s Handbook). The Italian treatise is famous because it offers the reader many detailed recipes that explain how to make a panel painting.
In order to create their colorful palette, fifteenth-century panel painters had to produce most paint supplies from scratch. Unable to walk into a shop of artist’s supplies as we can today, they obtained color from different kinds of earths, minerals, metals, flowers, roots and insects. A binding medium was required to transform all these pigments into paint. By the end of the fifteenth century, both North and South of the Alps, panel painters mostly used oil for this purpose. Painter’s oil is not just any type of oil, however; it needs to have drying properties.
Today the making and illegal selling of factitious stones has reached an unseen level of sophistication. Advanced technologies allow man to produce synthetic versions of the most precious of stones – diamonds, emeralds, sapphires and rubies. So convincing are these synthetic gems they can only be distinguished from natural precious stones in laboratories with advanced spectroscopic devices.
The making of imitations of precious stones is not just typical of our modern age. Find out more about its history and methods.