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'Some Panels from Sassetta's Sansepolcro Altarpiece' revisited

Rachel Billinge
Technical Bulletin Volume 30, 2009


The first article in the first National Gallery Technical Bulletin concerned seven panels from the altarpiece painted by Sassetta for the church of San Francesco at San Sepolcro. Thirty years later the seven panels were again the subject of a major programme of technical examination, using new technologies not available in the 1970s. The article presents some of the more interesting results to come out of this study, including digital enhancement of the X-ray images, changes to the composition revealed by infrared reflectography, a clearer understanding of Sassetta’s uses of gold and silver leaf for decorative effect, and new analysis of yellow paints.


altarpiece, egg tempera, fifteenth-century, incisions, infrared reflectography, Italian, lead soaps, mordant gilding, panel, punches, Sassetta, sgraffito, silver, stereobinocular microscopy, underdrawing, water gilding, X-ray

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'Some Panels from Sassetta's Sansepolcro Altarpiece' revisited, Rachel Billinge (PDF 27.05MB)

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Billinge, R. '"Some Panels from Sassetta's Sansepolcro Altarpiece" revisited'. National Gallery Technical Bulletin Vol 30, pp 8–25.

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