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Three Paintings by Caravaggio

Larry Keith
Technical Bulletin Volume 19, 1998


Boy bitten by a Lizard, The Supper at Emmaus, and Salome receives the Head of John the Baptist are discussed. The first two both have a warm transparent ground used as a mid-tone for flesh and hair and include egg tempera medium for white paint, as well as the walnut oil found elsewhere. The third has a darker priming. Incised lines, brushstrokes to indicate forms broadly ('abbozzo') and the use of live models to provide the pose of each figure are characteristic of Caravaggio's working practice. The degree of finish which Caravaggio used at different periods is also discussed.


artists' materials, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, painting techniques

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Keith, L. 'Three Paintings by Caravaggio'. National Gallery Technical Bulletin Vol 19, pp 37–51.


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