RESTRAINT WITHOUT STRESS, HISTORY AND PROSPECTS: A LITERATURE REVIEW OF PAINTINGS AS STRUCTURES
Barbara Whitney Keyser
2 PERCEPTIONS OF PAINTINGS AS STRUCTURES BEFORE 1910
THE SUBJECT OF PAINTING MECHANICS received little systematic attention before 1910. Westby Percival-Prescott has ably summarized the early development of the fabricsupported painting system in Europe, as well as early perceptions of its shortcomings (77): structural failures and searches for remedies began in the 1600's, within a century of fabric-supported paintings having become common. In spite of the exceptional efforts of some of the individuals described by Percival-Prescott, one senses in most early accounts little theoretical understanding of paintings as structures. The consequence is a hit-and-miss approach to treatment, and most mentions of environmental factors emphasize the deleterious effects of damp, in contrast to current preoccupation with damage caused by dessication in centrally-heated buildings (5).