Symposium ‘KWAB: New Discoveries’

On 13 and 14 September 2018, the Rijksmuseum will organize an international two-day symposium on the occasion of the exhibition Kwab. Dutch Design in the Age of Rembrandt, that is to be held at the Rijksmuseum.

Register here

foto2 Adam van Vianen, Kan, Utrecht, 1614. Verguld zilver, h. 25 cm, br. 14 cm, d. 9 cm. Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, BK-1976-75. Aankoop met steun van het Prins Bernhard Fonds, de Vereniging Rembrandt en de Stichting tot Bevordering van de Belangen van het RijksmuseumThe exhibition showcases the most important examples of objects featuring kwab- or auricular ornament, a wonderfully curious seventeenth-century phenomenon characterized by organic and fantastical forms. First developed in the works of the silversmiths Paulus and Adam van Vianen, it later found expression across a whole range of decorative arts.

The symposium gathers specialists on auricular ornament, including Tessa Murdoch (V&A), Matthew Winterbottom (Ashmolean Museum), Jet Pijzel-Dommisse (Gemeentemuseum Den Haag) and Johan ter Molen, who will share new discoveries and ongoing research on objects displayed within or related to the exhibition. The first day of the symposium will focus on the findings of technical research undertaken in preparation of the exhibition. On the second day, speakers will address (art) historical aspects of the design, production, and reception of diverse objects in the auricular style. This day is followed by a private viewing of the exhibition. It will be possible to attend either or both days.

This exciting event is sure to bring together those working on technical research, the decorative arts, seventeenth-century art, the history of the Golden Age, and the history of design. We hope you will be part of it!


You can find the preliminary programme here.

Book of abstracts

You can find the book of abstracts here.

13 September

12:45 pm-6 pm Plenary session with papers on the findings of technical research undertaken in preparation of the exhibition

14 September

10:00 am-6 pm Plenary session with papers on art historical aspects of auricular ornament, followed by a private viewing of the exhibition

The exhibition KWAB is made possible by:
Rijksmuseum Fonds: Hans en Hedy de Klerk, Ernst Nijkerk Fonds, Fonds Dirk Jan van Orden, Rijsterborgh Fonds.
The M.A.O.C. Gravin van Bylandt Stichting en Holland America Line.
An indemnity grant has been provided by the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands on behalf of the Minister of Education, Culture and Science.

Contact information:


13 and 14 September 2018


Regular participant
One day ticket for Thursday 13 September: € 25,00
Register here for 13 September

One day ticket for Friday 14 September: € 45,00
Register here for 14 September

If you would like to join us on both symposium days, please purchase a separate ticket for each day.

Student participant
Bachelor and Master students are eligible for a reduced ticket price. Please send a copy of your student ID/card for approval to before purchasing a ticket. A student ticket will be valid for one person and grant access on both days: € 17,50 (limited availability).


Rijksmuseum, Museumstraat 1 Amsterdam