Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud

In the winter of 2021/22, the Wallraf will reveal the secret techniques of masters such as Martini, Cranach, Rubens, Rembrandt, Friedrich, Manet and Monet. Whether from the late Middle Ages, Baroque, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism and Symbolism: over the past twenty years the museum's art technologists have been examining paintings by prominent painters of all periods. Using X-rays, infrared and stereo microscopes, the experts not only gazed at the paintings top layers, but also looked behind the varnish, - whether on paper, canvas, wood, metal or even stone. The research results brought to light in this way are spectacular and are presented for the first time across epochs in the exhibition "Revealed!". This unique glimpse behind the scenes of art will show 700 years of painting techniques in a new way and, thanks to the innovative forms of presentation, will enthuse a wide audience. The special exhibition can be seen exclusively in Cologne from 8.10.21 to 13.2.22.


The exhibition tour is structured in the same way as the exciting process of creating a painting: it begins with the "pictorial medium", analyses "priming", "underdrawing", "colour application and painting technique" and "corrections" and ends with the chapter "final steps". In addition to paintings, research material and analyses, the experts from the Wallraf also present films that vividly illustrate the contents. Furthermore, contemporary artists, art students, professors, painting technicians and gallery owners also have their say. Additionally, interactive animations provide an insight into the various research methods and phenomena. In a large "academy room", visitors can immediately put their new knowledge into practice and draw from plaster casts, sculptures and models. They will be surrounded by pictures and texts that explain the hard path from apprentice to master - starting in the age of the guilds and ending with academic training today.


In the beginning, many artists are faced with the question: What do I paint on? For centuries, until the advent of canvas, wood was the most popular surface, but some painters also used cardboard, paper, metal or stone. These pictorial media reveal a lot about the origin and function of a work of art as well as the artistic intentions behind it. Once the pictorial medium has been found, the technical preparation and planning of the composition follows. Nowadays, infrared rays make it possible to take a unique look under centuries-old layers of painting and thus promote new insights into the process of creation and the authorship of numerous paintings. Which paints do painters use - arduously mixed from egg or oil and paint powder or the industrially produced ones from the paint tube - and how do they apply these paints? With manipulated brushes, textiles, scratching tools, painting knives or directly from the tube? And what do they do if they don't like the result? To all these questions, the Cologne exhibition "Revealed! - Painting Techniques from Martini to Monet" has an answer.