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Subject: National Gallery Technical Bulletin

National Gallery Technical Bulletin

From: Kalwinder Bhogal <kalwinder.bhogal<-at->
Date: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
National Gallery Technical Bulletin
Volume 33

Pre-order your copy - UKP40


The National Gallery Technical Bulletin is a unique record of
research carried out at the National Gallery, London. Drawing on the
combined expertise of curators, conservators, and scientists, it
brings together a wealth of information about artists' materials,
practices, and techniques.

Series Editor: Ashok Roy


    Colourless Powdered Glass as an Additive in Fifteenth- and
    Sixteenth-Century European Paintings

        Marika Spring

        In recent years, during technical examination of paintings
        in the National Gallery, it has been discovered that many
        fifteenth- and sixteenth-century artists, all over Europe,
        used colourless powdered glass to modify the working and
        perhaps the drying properties of oil paint. The manner in
        which it was employed in more than 70 paintings is
        considered, as is the composition, investigated by
        quantitative SEM-EDX analysis. The type of glass shows the
        same general trends already established for vessel glass of
        the period--soda ash glass in Italian paintings (with only
        one exception) and wood or fern ash glass in the majority of
        the Northern European works. The article also reviews
        historic documentary sources that mention powdered glass as
        a paint additive.

    Niccolo di Pietro Gerini's 'Baptism Altarpiece': Technique,
    Conservation and Original Design

        Britta New
        Helen Howard
        Rachel Billinge
        Hayley Tomlinson
        David Peggie
        Dillian Gordon

        The complex physical history of Niccolo di Pietro Gerini's
        'Baptism Altarpiece' has had a profound effect on its
        present appearance. Most obviously, the altarpiece was
        dismembered, probably in the 19th century, and several parts
        of the polyptych are now absent. Detailed examination
        undertaken during a recent conservation campaign has
        provided important clues as to the altarpiece's original
        structure. Two hypothetical reconstructions are illustrated.
        The results of the technical analysis are discussed, as is
        the conservation history of the altarpiece.

    Adolphe Monticelli: The Materials and Techniques of an
    Unfashionable Artist

        Kate Stonor
        Rachel Morrison

        Monticelli has long fallen from favour in art-historical
        circles but was, in his time, admired by the young Cezanne,
        and later provided great inspiration for Van Gogh. His
        materials and techniques are of interest today because of
        their influence on these important figures. Study of his
        works in the National Gallery Collection has shown an
        extraordinary consistency in the artist's choice of
        pigments, so much so that two 'fakes' are thought to have
        been identified. Systematic sampling of Monticelli's
        relatively simple pigment mixtures allows inferences to be
        made regarding the possible content of the tube paints he
        was using and the influence commercial paint formulations
        had on artists working in the second half of the nineteenth
        century. The article also considers his use of unprimed,
        reused panels (probably made from old furniture) as supports
        for his work, and looks at the conservation problems caused
        both by their use and by the possible addition of extra
        medium into his tube paints.

    Renoir's 'Umbrellas' Unfurled Again

        Ashok Roy
        Rachel Billinge
        Christopher Riopelle

        Renoir's 'Umbrellas' was last studied intensively in 1990
        for the National Gallery's 'Art in the Making' exhibition on
        Impressionism. It had been known then that the picture
        involved two quite separate stages of development, first
        around 1881 and then from about 1885. In preparation for
        loan to an exhibition at the Frick Collection (New York)
        in2012, a new infrared reflectogram was made of the picture,
        and the X-ray image was improved by digital processing. With
        this new information, it has become possible to refine our
        interpretation of the separate phases of Renoir's elaborate
        recasting of the picture, both in its style and its

    Past, Present, Memories: Analysing Edouard Vuillard's 'La
    Terrasse at Vasouy'

        Anne Robbins
        Kate Stonor

        Throughout his life Edouard Vuillard painted large-scale
        decorations for public and private spaces. Among the latter,
        12 ensembles survive, often executed in distemper; the
        National Gallery's 'La Terrasse at Vasouy', which depicts
        members of the literary and artistic Paris of the time, is
        one of them. Originally a single large painting later
        divided into two separate compositions, the panels suffered
        a troubled afterlife: dispersed, reunited, yet wrongly
        identified, they were largely overlooked for decades, and
        their present state reflects these vicissitudes. Taking into
        account contemporary documents and technical evidence
        including X-radiographs and pigment identification (the
        first such examinations of the paintings), this article
        attempts to disentangle their complicated history.

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