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Re: [BKARTS] comment on 'preservation'

Actually, I've been doing a bit of homework on this one for a brief talk I'm giving tomorrow at my local art league. As early as 1400, Cennino Cennini, in his book, Il Libro Dell'Arte, was puzzling about why some pigments were more lightfast than others and made recommendations to his readers about what he thought best. It wasn't until 1835, however, that the English chemist George Field actually did anything remotely like scientific research on the archival properties of pigments, and it took another 140 years for those findings to really sink in. In 1976, I read, artists finally woke up and demanded consistent labeling of the paints they purchased. (It took another twelve years for the new standards to finally be implemented, tho.)

For those with a passion for chemistry and history I recommend the following excellent site: http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/pigmt1d.html

The author (or authors) of this amazing website make the point that, yes, nothing can be guaranteed to be truly permanent, and that it is the artist's responsibility to understand, to the best of their ability, the materials they are using. We gave up a lot of control over process when we stopped making our own parchment, brushes, paints, inks, and paper.....

'Nuff for now,

Kathy G

On Feb 8, 2007, at 11:25 PM, Wood, Susan wrote:

On another topic, I've been watching the discussion on archival
materials with considerable interest. It seems to me that the obsession
with longevity is a relatively modern one. It certainly didn't bother
Leonardo as he experimented with fresco or oil painting techniques. OK.
He created a headache for conservators, but if he hadn't been pushing
the boundaries we might not have had The Last Supper and Mona.

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