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Subject: National Gallery Technical Bulletin

National Gallery Technical Bulletin

From: Kalwinder Bhogal <kalwinder.bhogal<-at->
Date: Wednesday, October 16, 2013
National Gallery Technical Bulletin Volume 34
<URL:http://www.nationalgallery.co.uk/products/p_1035936>
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.

This special edition of the National Gallery Technical Bulletin is
dedicated to the study of Titian's technique up to around 1540. This
volume will be followed (in 2015) by another which will cover
Titian's later career, including the epic poesie paintings.

Series Editor: Ashok Roy, Director of Collections at the National
Gallery, London.

Jill Dunkerton is Restorer in the Conservation Department; Marika
Spring is Head of Research. All are at the National Gallery, London.

Contents:

Titian's Painting Technique to c.1540.
Jill Dunkerton and Marika Spring, with contributions from Rachel
Billinge, Kamilla Kalinina, Rachel Morrison, Gabriella Macaro, David
Peggie and Ashok Roy

The introductory essay compiles observations made on the paintings
examined, to survey various aspects of Titian's painting technique.
It discusses its origins and its relationship with the techniques of
his predecessors Bellini and Cima, and his contemporaries Giorgione
and Sebastiano. The canvases and their preparation are described,
showing the evolution in his choice of imprimitura. This study shows
how Titian planned his compositions, although he continued to revise
his compositions when executing his paintings, as evident in X-ray
and infrared images, and in overlapping colours seen in
cross-sections. He fully exploited the wide range of pigments
available to him, including the much-prized ultramarine, azurite and
red lake from kermes.

Catalogue
Jill Dunkerton and Marika Spring, with contributions from Rachel
Billinge, Kamilla Kalinina, Rachel Morrison, Gabriella Macaro, David
Peggie and Ashok Roy

The results of technical examination of the nine canvases in the
National Gallery from the first half of Titian's career are
assembled here. They have been re-evaluated using the more
sophisticated techniques now available. In addition, several
paintings from outside the collection are also described. A
collaboration with the Laboratory for Technical Analysis at The
State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, allowed their Flight into
Egypt to be included, widely accepted as Titian's first surviving
large-scale work. Other paintings were examined while on loan or
undergoing conservation at the National Gallery.

All the paintings have been X-rayed, and the majority were examined
by digital infrared reflectography. Paint samples have been
investigated from all but one work. Medium analysis by GC-MS has
been carried out when suitable samples were available, as has
analysis of the dyestuffs in red lake pigments by high performance
liquid chromatography. Most importantly for the study of Titian's
technique, the materials and layer structure in paint cross-sections
have been studied by optical microscopy, supplemented by
energy-dispersive X-ray analysis in the scanning electron
microscope, transmission FTIR analysis and attenuated total
reflectance-Fourier transform infrared microspectroscopic imaging.

Recovering Titian: The Cleaning and Restoration of Three Overlooked
    Canvas Paintings
Jill Dunkerton

The Bulletin ends with an account of the cleaning and restoration of
three works: Portrait of Girolamo Fracastoro and The Music Lesson,
both in the National Gallery, and The Triumph of Love, Ashmolean
Museum, Oxford. They have been largely ignored in the
twentieth-century art-historical literature on Titian, a common
factor being the deterioration of their appearance as a result of
heavily discoloured and degraded old restorations. Reconstruction of
their conservation histories has given an understanding of how they
came to be in such an altered condition, and goes some way towards
explaining why they were generally overlooked as possible works by
Titian. X-radiography and infrared reflectography have played a
significant role in their rehabilitation, as has analysis of paint
samples. In addition, these have informed the cleaning and treatment
that has retrieved some of the original quality of the three
paintings.

Kalwinder Bhogal
Head of Marketing
National Gallery Company Ltd
St. Vincent House
30 Orange Street
London WC2H 7HH
+44 20 7747 5955
Fax: +44 20 7747 5951


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Received on Wednesday, 16 October, 2013

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