VERONA: Van Eyck Research in OpeN Access

Bart Fransen

Head, Centre for the Study of the Flemish Primitives, Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage, Brussels

Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage, Brussels

Jubelpark 1 B-1000 Brussel Belgium

European Heritage Award / Europa Nostra Award 2019 – Research


More Than Meets The Eye. Jan Van Eyck's Complete Oeuvre: From Pigment to Pixel




The VERONA project by the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA) enables new, global research on the paintings of Jan van Eyck (ca. 1390-1441) and his workshop by making high-quality, standardised technical images of the paintings available online in open access on the website Closer to Van Eyck.


Jan van Eyck was one of the most celebrated European artists of the 15th-century and one of the first painters in Europe to achieve fame internationally. Today, van Eyck’s works are scattered across Europe and the U.S.. Due to their fragility, the paintings will never be united in one place again, making comparative research difficult. The VERONA project has broken new ground in Van Eyck scholarship by creating ultra-high-resolution scientific imagery with state-of-the-art equipment and by adopting a single, standardised protocol for all of the paintings. With the KIK-IRPA van loaded up with equipment, the team travelled over 25,000 kilometres to collaborate with every museum with a painting by Van Eyck in its collection. To document the paintings, VERONA used macrophotography (in normal light, raking light, infrared light and UV fluorescence), infrared reflectography and, in some cases, X-radiography.




Until recently the access to this kind of documentation was limited to a privileged group of museum curators and conservation scientists. Published on the website Closer to Van Eyck, as a supplement to the section dedicated to the conservation treatment of the Ghent Altarpiece, the VERONA project has produced 4 terabytes of data or 119 billion pixels. The imagery is now available in open access, creating a new and innovative tool for research, education and browsing.




Browse by year

Browse by category

Browse by country

View all