Preparation For Painting

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The aesthetic qualities of a painted work of art are determined by composition, the colours used and the application method. Equally important are the support and its preparation. Preparatory layers are fundamental to a creative process and to the perception of the work: they influence the final surface texture, the paints' luminosity and the durability of a painting. For centuries painters were well aware of these facts and took great care in this stage of the process. These papers were presented at the first conference devoted to preparatory layers used by artists, organized by the working group 'Paintings: scientific study, conservation and restoration' within the Conservation Committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM-CC) in 2007 at the British Museum, London. A wide range of issues is covered including the consideration of the preparatory layer(s)' function: optical properties, terminology, as well as materials and techniques used in the preparation of more unusual supports. The results of technical examination, experimental reconstruction and analysis of documentary sources provide fascinating insights into the relationshoips between supports, preparatory layers and artistic forms of expression; they offer new insights on the origin and dissemination of certain techniques and related questions of artistic exchange. Furthermore, the influence of preparatory layers on mechanical properties, changes in appearance and deterioration as well as the impact on conservation treatment decisions are explored. The influence of the environment on traditional and modern materials is addressed. Publication Date: July 2008 Over 126 illustrations, 216 pages (paperback)