Maartje Stols-Witlox is Associate Professor Paintings Conservation and programme director of the MA and APP programme in Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage. She is active on all levels of university teaching, including PhD supervision.
Maartje specialises in the examination of historical paintings, with special focus on historical artists’ recipes and their reconstruction with ‘historically informed’ materials. She has published widely on issues related to historical grounds in North West Europe, on reconstruction methodologies and on the investigation of conservation history through recipe research. In June 2017, she co-organised an interdisciplinary NIAS-Lorentz workshop on methodologies for performative methods, Re-enactment, Reconstruction and Replication. This workshop led to the establishment of a network for researchers employing performative methodologies, the RRR Network. An edited volume based on this week was published with Amsterdam University Press in 2020 (Reconstruction, Replication and Re-enactment in the Humanities and Social Sciences). Stols-Witlox heads the NWO Free Competition Humanities project Down to the Ground: A historical, visual and scientific analysis of coloured grounds in Netherlandish painting, 1550-1650 (2019-2024), is one of the task leaders of the EU Horizon 2021 project GoGreen, which aims to provide conservators with solutions that help them to practice conservation with lower energy consumption, less toxic materials, and fewer plastics. It does this firstly, by research into green alternatives to current methods, secondly, through the development of tools for greener decision making, and thirdly, by making knowledge and tools accessible to the conservation community in easy-to-use tools, educational material, courses and workshops.
Stols-Witlox is an active member of the DocenTENkamer - the Faculty of Humanities Teaching Exchange Network, of the Amsterdam Young Academy, is assistant coordinator of the Art Technological Source Research Group (ICOM-CC), member of the IAEA expert committee on Safe Irradiation Levels for the Instrumental Analysis of Cultural Heritage, and serves on the editorial board of the University of Valencia open-access book series Conservation 360 degrees, for which she co-edited first volume on UV-VIS examination of works of art, together with Dr. Laura Fuster-Lopez (University of Valencia) and dr. Marcello Picollo (Institute for Applied Physics, Florence).
Stols-Witlox obtained a BA and MA in Art History at the University of Leiden and subsequently studied Conservation of paintings and painted objects at the post-graduate programme of the Limburg Conservation Institute in Maastricht. She specialised further in the structural conservation of panel paintings during a six-month internship at the Hamilton Kerr Institute, University of Cambridge. Stols subsequently worked as a paintings conservator in The Mauritshuis, The Hague, in several private studios in the Netherlands, and has her own private conservation practice.
As researcher of historical paint recipes, Stols has acted as research associate in the HART Project, HART standing for Historically Accurate Reconstruction Techniques (project leader: Dr. L. Carlyle). The HART Project was part of the De Mayerne Programme, a multi-disciplinary five year research programme in the Netherlands, sponsored by NWO. She started lecturing for the University of Amsterdam in 2007. Stols served as core team member of the PAinT Project, PAinT standing for Paint: Alterations in Time (2012-216). Within this NWO-sponsored research project inside the Science4Art Programme, conservators, conservation scientists, computational scientists and chemists in coopeeration with major Dutch museums and international research partners investigated ageing, deterioration and migration processes in oil paints related to pigment-binding medium interactions.The PAinT project aimed to provide an improved scientific basis to guide future conservation strategies. In 2014, she defended her PhD thesis on Historical
Recipes for Preparatory Layers for Oil Paintings in Manuals, Manuscripts and Handbooks in North West Europe, 1550-1900: Analysis and reconstructions (University of Amsterdam), which was subsequently published as A Perfect Ground: preparatory layers for oil paintings, 1550-1900 with Archetype, London. Stols' project Restoration recipes was selected by the Amsterdam University Fund as one of the four 'Jaarfonds' fundraising projects for 2014.
Stols-Witlox has acted member of a number of scientific boards, including those of the 2015 Metal Soaps in Art Conference (Amsterdam) and the 2018 Trade in Artists Materials Conference (Copenhagen, Denmark), and was member of the organising committee of the 2018 Preservering Rembrandt symposium and the steering committee of the Mobility Creates Master (MoCMa) network.