While looking through old documents, as you do when you work in a museum, employees of the Teyler Museum in Haarlem, North Holland made a great discovery: they found a set of the oldest X-ray images in the world. As far as they know, there’s only another set somewhere in London.
The images were part of the inheritance of Nobel Prize winner Hendrik Antoon Lorentz, and printed by him. Time Magazine called these some of the 100 most influential photos ever collected. One of the images features German-Dutch physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen’s wife Bertha’s hand. “I’ve seen my death!” Bertha Röntgen said.
The Teyler Museum will be exposing these photos until July 14.
(Link: teylersmuseum.nl, Photo of Teylers Museum by Tom Clearwood, some rights reserved)
Tags: Haarlem, X-ray
Dutch experts from Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum have finally declared that the painting ‘Vase with Poppies’ (‘Vaas met klaprozen’) is a real Vincent van Gogh. The painting, which currently hangs in the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut, USA, was painted by the Dutch artist in 1886, just after he moved to Paris.
The painting has been part of the American museum’s collection since 1957, and when a prominent expert in 1990 starting questioning its authenticity, the museum put it in storage. Nowadays, using a Macro-X-ray Fluorescence (MA-XRF) scanner to analyse the painting like they did with Vermeer’s ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ last year, the underpainting revealed what looked like a self-portrait, which strengthened its authenticity.
The Wadsworth Atheneum now officially has two Van Goghs in its collection. The other is a self-portrait painted in 1887.
Why does it take so long to authenticate a painting? Well, MA-XRF scanners cost in the hundreds of thousands of euro, which means few museums own them – they usually have to borrow one. Besides getting your hands on such a scanner, the time it takes to scan and proper analyse the findings means the painting is out of view for a while and that your staff is busy doing that instead of other things.
(Links and image: gelderlander.nl, apnews.com)
Tags: authentication, United States, Vincent van Gogh, X-ray
In 1895 high school director H.J. Hoffmans and hospital director Lambertus van Kleef from Maastricht decided to build their own X-ray machine, just weeks after Wilhelm Röntgen’s famous discovery. Gerrit Kemerink of Maastricht University has now fired the old beast back up again and managed to coax some good pictures from it. The BBC has both images of and by the machine, and reports:
Given that a high radiation dose might be required to carry out the tests, the team obtained a hand from a cadaver as their imaging subject – rather than the “young lady’s hand” listed in Hoffmans and van Kleef’s notes.
The team accordingly found that using a modern detector, a radiation dose 10 times higher was required from the antiquated system when compared to a modern one.
Using a photographic plate and the same imaging conditions Hoffmans and van Kleef used, a dose 1,500 times higher was required.
In Dutch X-rays are called ‘röntgenstralen’, after their discoverer.
Tags: 1890s, medicine, X-ray