Restoring a Masterwork II: Guercino's Erminia and the Shepherds
Main Page
The Restoration
Daily Log
Condition Report
What's Wrong?
Treatment Steps
IR and UV Photography
Anatomy of a Painting
The Painting
General Overview
Jerusalem Delivered
The Commission
The Artist
The Engraving
Painting and Engraving

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.