WIT Press


TIME AND CHANGE: COLOUR, TASTE AND CONSERVATION



Price

Free (open access)

Paper DOI

10.2495/DNE-V4-N3-254-265

Volume

Volume 4 (2009), Issue 3

Pages

11

Page Range

254 - 265

Author(s)

J.P. CAMPBELL

Abstract

This paper surveys some major factors which commonly affect colour in paintings over time, with particular reference to art historical judgements about artists’ original intentions. A range of the most common causes of colour alteration, both external and intrinsic, such as surface dirt, darkening varnish, over-painting and old re-touching, the natural yellowing of ageing oil, the rising refractive index of drying oil, fugitive pigments and the effects of light is considered. The extent to which these changes in the appearance of paintings have consequences for taste, have implications for the training of art historians and affect how far conservators can, or should, restore colours to their original state is briefly noted.

Keywords

Dirt, varnish, oil, re-touching, over-painting, conservation, fugitive, refractive index, light, pigment