Maartje Stols-Witlox is Associate Professor Paintings Conservation, coordinates the MA program in Paintings Conservation at the University of Amsterdam, and is member of the management team of this program. She is active on all levels of university teaching, including PhD supervision (currently co-promoting 5 PhDs).
She 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. A book of essays based on this week is currently in preparation with Amsterdam University Press. 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 project leads of the NWO funded IPA Project - Irradiation Passport for Art (Netherlands Institute for Conservation, Art and Science, Amsterdam) and is affiliated to the Artechne project - Technique in the Arts 1500-1950 (Utrecht University).
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 book series Conservation 360 degrees, for which she currently edits the 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 furthermore headed the NICAS seed money project Scientific Reasoning in Art, Evaluating Evidence in Painting Research using a Bayesian Approach (2016-2017).
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.