A Perfect Ground: preparatory layers for oil paintings 1550 - 1900

Maartje Stols-Witlox

UK Price: £85.00 US Price: $175.00

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ISBN: 9781909492356
Binding: Cased
Dimensions: 246 x 175mm
Pages: 408
Illustrations: Colour 147 Halftones 85

Grounds, or preparatory layers, form the basis upon which all artistic paintings are
executed and can have a great impact on the ‘success’ of a painting, influencing both
its aesthetic qualities and its longevity. Artists in different locations and at different times
selected various materials and techniques to prepare their supports for painting. The
subject of grounds also occupied the minds of the authors of artists’ manuals, recipe books
and related historical sources. They wrote about ground colour and the devastating effect
a faulty ground could have on the long-term stability of a painting, discussing materials,
application methods, ground texture and its effects on the visual qualities of paintings.
A Perfect Ground is the first comprehensive study of the materials and techniques
described in historical recipes for ground layers, focusing on North West Europe during
the period 1550–1900. It evaluates these recipes, places them within a timeframe and
investigates geographical differences. The role of recipe books in the daily life of painters
is examined as is the influence of commercial ground preparation on painting practice
and the relationship between written recipes and actual life in the painter’s studio.
A Perfect Ground will be of interest to researchers and students in the fields of art history
and conservation. The case studies form a useful introduction to recipe-based research,
particularly for those interested in the application of reconstructions in the field of
cultural heritage.