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Vermeer and technique



The extended loan of Vermeer's 'The Guitar Player' from Kenwood House enabled National Gallery researchers to analyse the painting's materials and closely study the techniques used.

About the project


Read about the methods used in the project.

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Support and ground

How were Vermeer's canvases prepared prior to painting?

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Infrared examination

What lies beneath? Secrets under the paint surface.

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Vermeer's palette

Explore colour and pigment in Vermeer’s painting.

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Binding medium

Applying pigment to canvas: the use of oils and their effects.

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Paint application

Learn about the techniques employed by Vermeer.

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Secrets of the studio

Magnification and how it reveals hidden clues.

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Ultramarine blanching

Impact of time: changes to the appearance of this blue pigment.

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Fading of pigments

Observe the degradation of these pigments in Vermeer’s paintings.

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Paint defects

Vermeer’s errors: an Old Master’s mistakes?

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Lead and zinc soaps

Discover how the materials used in paintings alter with time.

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