Preparation for Painting: The Artist's Choice and its Consequences

Joyce H. Townsend, Tiarna Doherty, Gunnar Heydenreich, Jacqueline Ridge (eds)

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ISBN: 9781904982326
Binding: Paperback
Dimensions: 297 x 210 mm
Pages: 192
Illustrations: 94 colour, 32 halftone

The aesthetic qualities of a painted work of art are determined by composition, the colours used and the application method. Equally important are the support and its preparation. Preparatory layers are fundamental to the creative process and to the perception of the work: they influence the final surface texture, the paints' luminosity and the durability of a painting. For centuries painters were well aware of these facts and took great care in this stage of the process.

These papers were presented at the first conference devoted to preparatory layers used by artists, organised by the working group 'Paintings: scientific study, conservation and restoration' within the Conservation Committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM-CC) in 2007 at the British Museum, London.

A wide range of issues is covered including the consideration of the preparatory layer(s)' function: optical properties, terminology, as well as materials and techniques used in the preparation of more unusual supports. The results of technical examination, experimental reconstruction and analysis of documentary sources provide fascinating insights into the relationships between supports, preparatory layers and artistic forms of expression; they offer new insights on the origin and dissemination of certain techniques and related questions of artistic exchange. Furthermore, the influence of preparatory layers on mechanical properties, changes in appearance and deterioration as well as the impact on conservation treatment decisions are explored. The influence of the environment on traditional and modern materials is addressed.

Reviews
The broadly chronological account of the use, variants and developments of ground layers in painting is an extremely useful, accessible resource. The essays are well illustrated, with diagrammatic images and detail photographs documenting examples and results dicussed within the text. The reliance on, and importance of contemporary sources as well as scientific analysis, reconstructions and mechanical testing is emphasised throughout, with useful examples that inform our understanding of the provenance and behaviour of paintings and aid conservation decisions.
The Picture Restorer 36 (Spring 2010) 43-44

...se trata de una publicación imprescindible para los conservadores-restauradores de pintura, completísima en el recorrido cronológico que muestra pero, sobre todo, con relevantes novedades y rigurosa en los resultados que aporta.
Estudos de conservação e restauro 2 (2010) 169-172