Analyses of Paint Media: New Studies of Italian Paintings of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries

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Catherine Higgitt and Raymond White
Technical Bulletin Volume 26, 2005

Abstract 

This article represents a major survey of new results of paint medium analyses for a range of Italian paintings of the 15th and 16th centuries in the National Gallery collection using, principally, FTIR spectrometry and gas-chromatography linked to mass-spectrometry. The results are divided between Florentine, Sienese, Umbrian, North Italian, Venetian and Roman school works. Among the artists studied were Botticelli, The Master of the Story of Griselda, Beccafumi, Perugino, Lo Spagna, Costa, Mantegna, Bellini, Cima, Marziale and Polidoro da Caravaggio. One emphasis of the article is an exploration of the transition of egg tempera painting to oil at this period, and the significance of mixed paint media. The commentary on the results also points out some pitfalls of interpretation possible with these methods of analysis, in particular the frequent formation of metal oxalate components of partly degraded paint films.

Keywords

egg oil transition in Italy, FTIR spectrometry, gas-chromatography, mass-spectrometry, paint medium analysis, Renaissance painting

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Analyses of Paint Media: New Studies of Italian Paintings of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries, Catherine Higgitt and Raymond White (PDF 4.01MB)

 

 

To cite this article we suggest using

Higgitt, C., White, R. 'Analyses of Paint Media: New Studies of Italian Paintings of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries'. National Gallery Technical Bulletin Vol 26, pp 88–97.
http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/technical-bulletin/higgitt_white2005


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