Anatomy of a Painting
1. Varnish and Retouching
- The natural resin varnish has discolored with age and the accumulation of dirt and grime.
2. Paint Layer
- The paint is composed of dry pigments ground in a linseed, poppyseed, or walnut oil medium to a pastelike consistency.
3. Primer or Ground Layer
- The ground provides a nonabsorptive surface on which to apply paint. On this painting, the ground is a reddish earth color, traditional in 17th-century Italian painting.
4. Primary Support
- A traditional Italian open-weave linen-fiber canvas is the primary support.
5. Lining Fabric
- Several years ago-to prevent further deterioration and to mend old tears in the canvas-a linen lining was attached to the reverse of the original canvas with a glue-paste adhesive.
6. Auxiliary Support
- The auxiliary support is an expandable wooden framework over which the lined original canvas is stretched and secured by tacks at the outer edges.