Research projects

The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium conduct national and international projects focusing on the knowledge and preservation of and access to the artistic and cultural heritage.

Research in art history, whether studies for the conservation and restoration of works, the development of new technologies for analysing them, or knowledge of a given artistic movement, is a multifaceted exercise.  Below you will find formation about recent projects carried out in these areas by the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, and others still in progress.

List of projects

  • ProvEnhance

    Enhancing the provenance data of the collections of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium (RMFAB) since 1933. Scientific study, digital valorization and narrative in context

    2023 > 2027

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    Coordinators : Aude Alexandre and Ingrid Goddeeris (RMFAB) Researchers : Fenya Almstadt (RMFAB/ ULB/TU Berlin), Elea De Winter (ULB), Alexandre Leroux (RMFAB) – see contacts below Scientific Commi…

    A critical study and remedy for the Meunier Museum as a satellite of the RMFAB

    2022 > 2027

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    2022 > 2027 Promotors: Dr. Davy Depelchin (RMFAB), Prof. Dr. Marc Jacobs (UAntwerp) Researcher: Prof. Dr. Ulrike Müller (RMFAB/UAntwerp)  
  • MetaBelgica

    A shared entity management infrastructure between Federal Scientific Institutes in Belgium

    2023 > 2026

    Promotor(s) : Hannes Lowagie (KBR), Ann Van Camp (KBR), Sven LIeber (KBR), Julie Brikholz (KBR); Karine Lasaracina (KMSKB), Eric Buelinckx (KIK), Els Angenon (KMKG)

    Researcher(s) : Prof. Dr. Dieter De Witte (subcontractor Ghent Universty - IDLab), Marc Van Oene (KMSKB), Lies Van de Cappelle (KMSKB)

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    Preservation and Valorisation of Friable Media on Paper.

    2022 > 2026

    Promotor(s) : Dr. Inga Rossi-Schrimpf (RMFAB), Marjolijn Depulpaep (KIK-IRPA), Prof. Estelle Van Geyts (ENSAV, La Cambre), Prof. Dr. Lieve Watteeuw (KU Leuven), Leila Sauvage (Rijksmuseum)

    Researcher(s) : Lise Vandewal (RMFAB), Juliette François (KIK-IRPA), Marie-Noëlle Grison (RMFAB/KU Leuven), Ana Oñate Muñoz (ENSAV La Cambre)

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    The FRIABLE project investigates the vulnerability of modern works on paper with powdery materials such as pastel, charcoal and chalk. Its aim is to develop a protocol for the conservation and managem…

    Seamless Archiving for Museums and Enhanced Sharing Experiences

    2021 > 2026

    Promotor(s) : prof. Benoît Macq (ICTEAM, UCLouvain), Karine Lasaracina (RMFAB)

    Researcher(s) : Sébastien Lugan (PhD, postdoctoral researcher, UCL/RMFAB)

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    The aim of the “SIAMESE” FED-tWIN project is to provide new, innovative image-processing techniques applied to cultural heritage preservation.

    Heritage Enrichment using Spatial Object Relations - Automatic wikibase generation for semantic querying and linking of RMFAB collections

    2021 > 2026

    Promotor(s) : Prof. Dr. Ir. Steven Verstockt (IDLab/UGent), Lies Van de Cappelle (RMFAB)

    Researcher(s) : Prof. Dr. Ir. Dieter De Witte (RMFAB - IDLab/UGent)

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    The aim of this FED-tWIN project is to investigate whether automatic image recognition, with a focus on spatial relations between objects, can be used within the collection registration, in making col…
  • Climate2Preserv

    2021 > 2025

    Promotor(s) : Belspo

    Researcher(s) : Sustainability Unit

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    Energy reduction in Cultural Heritage Institutions is a hot topic. However, due to the diversity of the types of buildings, collections, and outdoor climates, taking sustainable decisions is easier sa…

    Belgian Art on Paper in a European Perspective. 1918-1950

    2020 > 2024

    Promotor(s) : Dr. Inga Rossi-Schrimpf (RMFAB) ; Co-Promotor(s): Karine Lasaracina (RMFAB) ; Prof. Dr. Sascha Bru (KUL) ; Prof. Dr. Michel Draguet (ULB/RMFAB) ; Prof. Dr. Frederik Truyen (KUL)

    Researcher(s) : Lies Van de Cappelle (RMFAB), Laura Kollwelter (RMFAB), Sarah Eycken (RMFAB /KUL), Ana Schultze (RMFAB)

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    The BePAPER-project will provide a first overview of the field of Belgian avant-garde works on paper within an international context between 1918 and 1950, that is, up and until the dawn of CoBrA and …
  • Face to Face

    Human Faces through the Prism of Technical Art History

    2019 > 2024

    Promotor(s) : Prof. Dr. David Strivay (Centre Européen d’Archéométrie, ULiège) & Prof. Dr. Francisca Vandepitte (Modern Art Department, RMFAB/VUB)

    Researcher(s) : Dr. Catherine Defeyt (ULiège/RMFAB)

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    The project Face to Face, aims to throw a new light on the representation of the human faces in Western painting, through the prism of technical art history   

    Digitisation Programme of the Belgian Science Policy (BELSPO)

    2005 > 2024

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    The plan for the digitisation of the cultural and scientific heritage of the Federal Scientific Institutions is part of the current digitisation programme DIGIT, which is currently in its fourth phase…
  • RMFAB-Getty Paper Project Curatorial Fellowship

    2020 > 2022

    Promotor(s) : Dr. Inga Rossi-Schrimpf

    Researcher(s) : Willemijn Stammis (Curatorial Fellow)

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    In January of 2018, the Getty Foundation launched The Paper Project: Prints and Drawings Curatorship in the 21st Century, an initiative to strengthen curatorial practice in the graphic arts field inte…

    Belgian Infrastructure for Social Sciences and Humanities Open Science

    2019 > 2022

    Promotor(s) : Rolande Depoortere (NAB) ; Johan Van der Eycken (NAB)

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    The BISHOPS project focuses on developing an interfederal support infrastructure for open research data in human and social sciences.

    Intelligent Neural Systems as InteGrated Heritage Tools

    2017 > 2021

    Promotor(s) : Karine Lasaracina (RMFAB) ; Els Angenon (RMAH) ; Pierre Geurts (University of Liège) ; Christophe Verbruggen (University of Ghent) ; Sally Chambers (University of Ghent)

    Researcher(s) : Matthia Sabatelli (University of Liège) ; Nicolae Banari (University of Antwerp)

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    The objective of this project is to advance the application of automated algorithms from the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to support cultural heritage institutions in their effort to keep up …
  • LOUD

    Linked Open Usable Data

    2019 > 2020

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    Although several hundreds of thousands of heritage objects held by the Belgian Federal Scientific Institutions are related to each other to various degrees, they are still largely considered and treat…
  • Before and after ? Continuity or rupture ?

    Belgian art around World War I

    2016 > 2018

    Promotor(s) : Inga Rossi-Schrimpf

    Researcher(s) : Laura Kollwelter

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    In the context of the commemorations of World War I, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium have launched the project Before and after ? Continuity or rupture ? Belgian Art around World War I. 

    Shared Art Exhibitions

    2016 > 2018

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    The objective is to conceive digital exhibitions that integrate collections from various museums, festivals and art centres, so as to broadcast them in public spaces, in compliance with artistic right…
  • City and Society in the Netherlands, 1200-1800. The state of the city: between resilience and vulnerability

    PAI 7/26 2012-2017

    2012 > 2017

    Promotor(s) : Dr Sabine van Sprang

    Researcher(s) : Dr Tine Meganck, Dr Irene Schaudies, Stefaan Hautekeete, Hilde Cuvelier

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  • The Dissemination of the Orientalist Praxis in the Belgian Artistic Circles


    2012 > 2016

    Promotor(s) : Pr Dr Michel Draguet

    Researcher(s) : Davy Depelchin

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  • Pieter Bruegel the Elder

    The sources of his art

    2012 > 2015

    Promotor(s) : Dr. Véronique Bücken

    Researcher(s) : Dr. Alexandre Galand

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    The RMFAB, which after Vienna contain the largest collection of works by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, have launched a research project to reassess the Bruegel paintings preserved in Brussels, along with …
  • Multispectral Analysis of Digital Images for Art Historical Research and Preventative Conservation of Paintings

    Research Project Concerning Non-Invasive Diagnostic Methods for the Preventative Conservation of Paintings.

    2009 > 2014

    Promotor(s) : Dr. Frederik Leen

    Researcher(s) : Bruno Cornelis (Vrije Universiteit Brussel - ETRO), Prof. Dr. Ann Dooms (Vrije Universiteit Brussel - ETRO)

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  • The heritage of Rogier van der Weyden

    Painting in Brussels in the late 15th and early 16th century

    2010 > 2013

    Promotor(s) : Dr Véronique Bücken

    Researcher(s) : Dr. Griet Steyaert

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  • Rubensdatabase

    2008 > 2013

    Promotor(s) : Dr. Joost Vander Auwera

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    Scientific examination of the 'Rubens Group' at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, with a catalogue raisonné and Rubens exhibition.
  • Orientalism

    2009 > 2012

    Promotor(s) : Prof Dr Michel Draguet

    Researcher(s) : Davy Depelchin

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  • The Reception of Pop Art in Belgium between 1962 and 1970

    2010 > 2011

    Promotor(s) : Dr. Frederik Leen

    Researcher(s) : Carl Jacobs

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  • City and Society in the Netherlands, 1200-1800

    PAI 6/32 2007-2011

    2007 > 2011

    Promotor(s) : Prof. Dr. Michel Draguet

    Researcher(s) : Dr. Sabine van Sprang, Dr. Tine Meganck, Dr. Irene Schaudies, Stefaan Hautekeete

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  • Scientific study of the paintings of the “Bernard van Orley” group conserved in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, with a view to establishing a scientific catalogue

    2006 > 2011

    Promotor(s) : Dr Véronique Bücken

    Researcher(s) : Dr Alexandre Galand

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  • Les XX & La Libre Esthétique (1884 – 1914)

    Critical edition and computerization of the Octave Maus Fund

    2004 > 2008

    Promotor(s) : Dr. Francisca Vandepitte

    Researcher(s) : Rafaël Knops

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