This clear and accessible handbook introduces the nonspecialist to the physical examination of easel paintings and the historical and critical implications of such study. It takes the reader through the various layers of paintings, from support to varnish, and looks at information that might be attached to a painting's reverse, as well as the physical circumstances of its display. The authors demonstrate how this knowledge contributes to a wide range of historical and critical approaches, including iconography, regional and colonial studies, examination of artistic intent, interactions among artistic schools, and the history of collecting and exhibition." "The book offers the only comprehensive discussion available on materials, techniques, and condition issues in Western easel paintings from medieval times to the present. It includes detailed case studies of twenty-five paintings by artists from Giotto and Leonardo to Vermeer, Degas, and Pollock.
An essential handbook for the pro,and also a beautifully illustrated primer for the layperson. Kirsh and Levenson teach the most valuable lessons about painting of all: how meanings,material,and techniques are bound up together.