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Sebastiano del Piombo's 'Raising of Lazarus': A History of Change

Jill Dunkerton and Helen Howard
Technical Bulletin Volume 30, 2009


The conservation history of this vast altarpiece is described, including the transfer from the original panel to a canvas support carried out in Paris in the 18th century and then the retransfer to a synthetic panel begun in 1958. The radical nature of past treatments has resulted in alterations to the appearance of the painting. The possible effects of the materials added during the transfer process to the painting’s appearance are reviewed. In addition, several of the pigments have discoloured, some of them in unexpected ways. During the treatment of 1958–67 a great many paint samples were taken. This study has involved the re-examination of these samples using analytical techniques that were not available when the samples were taken, thereby demonstrating the value of archived paint samples.


altarpiece, cross-sections, discoloration, imprimitura, linseed oil, painting technique, panel, pigments, Sebastiano del Piombo, transfer, underdrawing

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Dunkerton, J., Howard, H. 'Sebastiano del Piombo's "Raising of Lazarus": A History of Change'. National Gallery Technical Bulletin Vol 30, pp 26–51.

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