The Thread Count Automation Project with Vincent van Gogh’s paintings
The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam started up the Thread Count Automation Project (TCAP) in 2007 with the help of Rick and Don Johnson, professors of electrical and computer engineering at Cornell and Rice universities. Together they developed the first (semi-) automatic canvas thread-counting system based on X-ray images.
Vincent van Gogh is known to have acquired rolls of canvas for his paintings and this technology has enabled the structure of many of his canvases to be analysed in order to determine which ones come from the same roll. It has made it possible to establish a very precise chronology of his works and gain a much greater understanding of his working method. Thanks to this study it has been discovered, for example, that the canvases of The Stevedores in Arles in our collection and The Lover (Portrait of Lieutenant Milliet) in the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, both dated in 1888, come from the same roll.
The department of Modern Painting of the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza is collaborating on the research of the four Vincent van Gogh canvases in the Thyssen-Bornemisza collections.