Still Life with Grapes and Nest

  • Hilkka Hiiop
  • Andres Uueni
  • Anneli Randla
  • Alar Läänelaid
Keywords: still lifes, conservation of painting, multispectral analysis, dendrochronological investigation


A complex conservation process revealed the layer of the painting in
its original subtlety and delicate retouchings recreated the integral
surface of the painting. As a result, we can confirm that it is a painting
of high artistic quality dating most probably from the middle of
the 17th century, painted on an oak panel of German origin. We
remain doubtful about the Internet auction suggested authorship,
as the painting does not reach the artistic quality of Jan Davidsz
Dé Heem, a top rank artist from the Netherlands. It is possible to
continue with the art-historical analysis (and other investigations)
of the painting, to find further proof for the hypothetical dating and
maybe even reach an attribution but we must not forget to ask the
questions whether and to whom it would be necessary. What matters

for the owner of the painting is the fact that an artwork which decorates

the wall of his home has both aesthetic and historical value –

even without knowing its exact date or the painter.


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Author Biographies

Hilkka Hiiop

Hilkka Hiiop, PhD (b. 1974) is a professor in the Department of
Conservation at the Estonian Academy of Arts. She has studied and
worked as a conservator in Berlin, Amsterdam and Rome, supervised
a number of conservation and technical investigation projects in
Estonia, curated exhibitions, and conducted scientific research on
conservation and technical art history.

Andres Uueni

Andres Uueni (b. 1974) has worked in different memory institutions,
designing and developing information systems and led several
cultural heritage digitization and documentation projects. Andres
is co-founder of Archaeovision LLC and Heritagest LLC and he is
a Junior Researcher and PhD student in the Estonian Academy of
Arts, focusing on cultural heritage 3D documentation and multispectral imaging.

Anneli Randla

Anneli Randla, PhD (b. 1970) is the Head of the Department of
Cultural Heritage and Conservation at the Estonian Academy of
Arts, Senior Research Fellow and Associate Professor. Her research
interests span medieval art and architecture, technical art history
and conservation history.

Alar Läänelaid

Alar Läänelaid, PhD (b. 1951) is Associate Professor in
Landscape Ecology at the University of Tartu, Estonia. He has
dendrochronologically dated a number of architectural objects, as
well as painting panels and sculptures.
Kristina Sohar, PhD (b. 1983) is a research fellow in physical
geography at the University of Tartu, Estonia. Her research focuses
on dendrochronological dating as well as climate change from tree