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

Bernard van Orley occupied a fundamental place in the artistic life of Brussels during the first half of the 16th century. As painter to the courts of Margaret of Austria and Mary of Hungary, and the author of tapestry and stain glass designs, Van Orley headed one of the largest workshops of his day. Steeped in the Brussels tradition and its characteristic "narrative" style, Van Orley was to exhibit a capacity to take on board the latest influences – Raphael and Dürer – in to order to create and disseminate a new style. The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium conserve the largest ensemble in the world of paintings attributed to Bernard van Orley or his associates, including major signed or documented works. The research will combine the traditional procedures of historical, stylistic and iconographic research with laboratory analysis methods (dendrochronology, infrared reflectography, ultraviolet, binocular microscope, radiography). A thorough study will make it possible to review the attributions and clarify the operation of this important 16th century Brussels workshop.