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Giovanni di Paolo's 'SS. Fabian and Sebastian'

David Bomford and Jo Kirby
Technical Bulletin Volume 2, 1978


Discusses technical examination, cleaning and restoration of Saints Fabian and Sebastian, which proved unexpectedly complex. An X-ray mosaic (reproduced in a full-page plate) indicated that some of the arrows piercing Saint Sebastian's body had been painted out. During cleaning it became clear that an earlier restorer had made extensive alterations to Saint Sebastian. Indeed, a completely new left arm and hand had been painted over the original. The whole configuration of the upper arm and body had been changed, some of the original paint scraped away and some limbs made thicker.

Details are given of the careful removal of such additions and figures are included in the text which show details of cleaning tests in key areas. Also deals with the technical examination of the pigments, materials used and the paint structure. An interesting comparison of technique and materials is made between this and Sassetta's work.


cleaning, Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia, overpainting, paintings, tempera

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Giovanni di Paolo's 'SS. Fabian and Sebastian', David Bomford and Jo Kirby (PDF 15.95MB)

To cite this article we suggest using

Bomford, D., Kirby, J. 'Giovanni di Paolo's "SS. Fabian and Sebastian"'. National Gallery Technical Bulletin Vol 2, pp 56–65.

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