Marjolijn Bol’s research interests focus on the interdependence of the history of art with the history of materials, techniques, and science. She gained her PhD in Art History at Utrecht University with her thesis Oil and the Translucent: Varnishing and Glazing in Practice, Recipes and Historiography, 1100-1600. Her study shows how the history of the discovery and use of the transparent properties of oil as varnish and paint medium is central to understand the roots of medieval panel painting in imitative practices and, from the fifteenth century onwards, its emancipation as "high art." While grounded in art history, Marjolijn's research interacts with historical studies of craft, technology, science, and social studies. Special to her approach is the making of historical reconstructions to investigate the appearance of materials or objects that only came down to us in writing (i.e., recipes) or that survived in poor condition.
Between 2012 and 2014 Marjolijn worked on postdoctoral research projects at the MPIWG, including Crafting Splendor and Examining Light. The Artisan's Contribution to the Study of Optics, 1100-1700, Golden Wood and Panels of Porphyry. Appraising and Examining the Art of Ersatz in Pre- and Early Modern Times, and on the DFG research project Natura-Materia-Artificio. Die Reflexion von Naturmaterialien in bildender Kunst und Kunsttheorie vom 15. bis ins frühe 18. Jahrhundert at the University of Hamburg. In 2014 she was awarded a research grant by the Dutch Science Fund (NWO) for her project Art and Deception: Functions, Techniques and Effects of Material Mimesis. Presently, she works on this project at the University of Amsterdam (Department of Conservation & Restoration) and at the MPIWG. For the University of Amsterdam Marjolijn also develops and teaches the course Art Technological Source Research.
Alum—A Material at the Crossroads of the Arts, Crafts, and Learned Inquiry
Art and Deception: Functions, Techniques, and Effects of Material Mimesis
Crafting Splendor and Examining Light. The Artisan’s Contribution to the Study of Optics, 1100–1700
Early Modern Art Technologies and Materials
Golden Wood and Panels of Porphyry. Appraising and Examining the Art of Ersatz in Pre- and Early Modern Times
Understanding Light through Art. Emeralds and the Artisan’s Contribution to Optical Knowledge
Bol, Marjolijn (2023). “Imitating Crackles: Material Mimesis in Stones and Textiles.” In Ownership of Knowledge: Beyond Intellectual Property, 153–180. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. https://doi.org/10.7551/mitpress/14648.003.0011.Read More
Bol, Marjolijn (2023). The Varnish and the Glaze: Painting Splendor with Oil, 1100–1500. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Read More
Bol, Marjolijn (2019). “The Emerald and the Eye: On Sight and Light in the Artisan’s Workshop and Scholar’s Study.” In Perspective as Practice: Renaissance Cultures of Optics, ed. S. Dupré, 71–101. Turnhout: Brepols.Read More
Bol, Marjolijn (2017). “Technique and the Art of Immortality, 1800-1900.” History of Humanities 2 (1): 179–199. https://doi.org/10.1086/690578.Read More