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Van Dyck's Paint Medium

Raymond White
Technical Bulletin Volume 20, 1999


Medium analyses of the 10 Van Dycks in the National Gallery, London, by gas chromatography, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, and Fourier transform infrared microscopy are tabulated. Van Dyck largely used linseed oil when in England. He used walnut oil to a greater extent when he worked in Italy, Antwerp, and Brussels. These oils were sometimes heat-bodied, which counteracts the poor drying of organic black pigments.

There was no evidence here for the use of gum or glue medium with green or blue pigments, followed by varnish, as noted by de Mayerne. Pine resin was added to the paint for red glazes, while softwood pitch was used with brown glazes to give a translucent paint. Bister, made by heating wood or bark, was found in one painting.


Anthony van Dyck, artists' materials, binder (material), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, gas chromatography, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, oil paintings

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Van Dyck's Paint Medium, Raymond White (PDF 2.97MB)

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White, R. 'Van Dyck's Paint Medium'. National Gallery Technical Bulletin Vol 20, pp 84–8.


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