Main content

Conserving the works of the Van Gogh Museum

Karl Bos goes behind the scenes of The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam to discover the hidden art of painting conservation.

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in The Netherlands is one of the most visited museums in the world. It houses the largest collection of works by the hugely popular 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, as well as many paintings by his contemporaries. All of these pictures need to be looked after and preserved for future generations and in this programme, the BBC’s Karl Bos goes behind the scenes to discover the hidden art of conservation.

Once a painting leaves an artist’s studio, it is at risk of physical damage from poor storage, movement or accident and only becomes more vulnerable as it ages and the materials weaken. You can add to the list of dangers past repairs by well-meaning museum staff that have gone terribly wrong. It’s a hard life being a work of art. We meet Senior Conservator at the Van Gogh Museum, René Boitelle as he restores a badly damaged painting by Dutch artist Jacob Marris and shows us how Van Gogh’s painting The Furrows, is being cleaned.

The Van Gogh Museum’s next exhibition features works of famous French painters, Paul Gauguin and Charles Laval, made on a trip to Martinique in 1887. ‘Gauguin & Laval in Martinique’ runs from 5 October 2018 to 13 January 2019.

Produced by Karl Bos for the BBC World Service.

(Image: Conservator René Boitelle. Photo Courtesy of Heleen van Driel/Van Gogh Museum)

Available now

27 minutes

Last on

Tue 2 Oct 2018 21:32GMT


  • Tue 2 Oct 2018 02:32GMT
  • Tue 2 Oct 2018 03:32GMT
  • Tue 2 Oct 2018 04:32GMT
  • Tue 2 Oct 2018 10:32GMT
  • Tue 2 Oct 2018 21:32GMT

Download the podcast

Download the podcast

Follow our journeys with some of the most creative minds on the planet