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Subject: Wrinkled faces in portraits

Wrinkled faces in portraits

From: Niccolo Caldararo <caldararo<-a>
Date: Friday, February 15, 2008
Frank A. Reynolds <fr0c [at] andrew__cmu__edu> writes

>Hunt Institute has a collection of some 30,000 portraits.  I have
>notice an interesting phenomenon in some late 19th century
>portraits.  The faces in these portraits are wrinkled. The wrinkling
>looks very similar to film that has been subjected to a high
>temperature when processed, causing the emulsion to separate from
>the base so that when the film dries the emulsion dries unevenly.
>Since only the faces of these photographs are wrinkled, that would
>seem to indicate that something was done to just that area of the
>film.  Perhaps an attempt to lessen age lines in the subject's face?
>Would anyone know anything about this?

I would examine a few of these portraits to make sure they were
"paintings." Melvin Ruggles, (JAIC 1985, Volume 24, Number 2,
Article 4 pp. 92 to 103) described a number of photographic images
on canvas that were later painted over. This is only one
possibility, but transmitted light examination, UV and IR as well as
microscopic survey of about 30X could tell you a lot about the
structure of the objects you are looking at.

Niccolo Caldararo
Conservation Art Service
San Francisco, CA 94107


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Received on Friday, 15 February, 2008

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