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Analyses of Paint Media

Raymond White and Jennifer Pilc
Technical Bulletin Volume 17, 1996


A table on analytical results for the media of Italian paintings from the early 15th to the mid-16th century and French paintings from the 17th century is given. The change from the use of egg tempera to oil in Italy is discussed, with tendencies to use egg for underpainting and/or for light colours. Paint defects caused by the addition of pitch or resin are noted. Oil types used in the 16th and 17th centuries are detailed in terms of their contribution to the paint's handling qualities. Gum benzoin, found in a rare, uncleaned Turner, is discussed in the context of his known use of mixed media. An improved one-step derivatisation procedure for oil paint, using trimethyl (a,a,a,-trifluoro-m-tolyl) ammonium hydroxide, is described.


artists' materials, benzoin, egg tempera, France, Italy, oil paint, paintings

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White, R., Pilc, J. 'Analyses of Paint Media'. National Gallery Technical Bulletin Vol 17, pp 91–103.

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