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  #31   Report Bad Post  
Old 09-04-2011, 07:36 AM
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Gareth Hawker Gareth Hawker is offline
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Re: Vermeer Lacemaker Study (WIP)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marigold
...Hard to decide what is worse - the gloomy colorlessness of paintings obscured by darkened varnish, or the stripped down remains of "cleaned" paintings when color glazes were removed with the varnish ..
Susanne

Susanne,

I am glad you found that link worth following up. It comes as a real shock to see how much paint restorers have taken off, even recently.

If I understand you correctly, you present a choice which at first sight seems reasonable. An intact original which is too dark to see properly, versus a cleaned version which is not true to the artist, but is easier to see.

Museums invariably deny that they make this choice. They claim that they do not remove original paint - ever. (They say that the paint which came off must have been put there by a previous restorer).

So the choice you present is not one which is ever contemplated in discussions with museums. The main trouble with cleaning off original paint is that the process is irreversible. Restorers and researchers may come up with better cleaning methods in the future but those methods will be of no use to paintings such as the Vermeer in the ArtWatch page.

Once paint has been lost it cannot be recovered. (This sounds obvious, but restorers often claim that their work is 'reversible' - i.e. this implies that the restorers are just as good at painting as Vermeer was. They can put back his brushstokes if necessary).

It is frustrating when a painting looks dark because of discoloured varnish, but galleries often exaggerate the problem in their public statements. Most pictures in national collections are only slightly discoloured. One only has to stand in front of the picture for a second or two and one's eyes become accustomed to the colour, just as they become accustomed to a dark room when one walks in from the bright outdoors.

I would suggest a better approach to dealing with the (much exaggerated) problem of darkened varnish would be for museums to make very accurate actual -size digital copies of the paintings. Restorers could play with these instead of playing with the originals. If there is disagreement about the results, nothing would have been lost because the original painting would remain untouched.

Here is one example of how varnish may be removed virtually:
http://www.lumiere-technology.com/Pages/News/news3.htm

Good luck with the next steps in your painting!

Gareth
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Old 09-04-2011, 12:03 PM
LGHumphrey LGHumphrey is offline
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Re: Vermeer Lacemaker Study (WIP)

Thanks for that link Gareth, very interesting.

As they don't want to start monkeying with the varnish on the Mona Lisa, perhaps they could get a skilled copyist to paint a new one with true colours.
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Old 09-05-2011, 09:31 AM
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Gareth Hawker Gareth Hawker is offline
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Re: Vermeer Lacemaker Study (WIP)

Quote:
Originally Posted by LGHumphrey
As they don't want to start monkeying with the varnish on the Mona Lisa, perhaps they could get a skilled copyist to paint a new one with true colours.

Lawrence,

I believe Pascal Cotte has been saving up pieces of Poplar which are the same size as the Mona Lisa so that a copyist will be able to do just as you suggest. In fact, I did read on the Internet that someone has already begun to make a copy under his supervision. Sorry I cannot find the link at the moment.

Alas, there are always factions in the Louvre who want to clean the Mona Lisa. Some of them even feel that, with the knowledge Pascal Cotte has provided about what may lie beneath the varnish, they can excavate with impunity.

This is a grave error. For one thing Pascal Cotte's version is, as he says himself, a 'proposal', not the definitive answer. Also the varnish will have amalgamated with the paint. It will be impossible to remove the varnish without removng the paint.

I believe the digital copy, and the hand-made copy, could save paintings from a great deal of reckless handling. (Three cheers for Susanne!) Very fragile works are being transported around the world with increasing frequency, as this page describes:

http://artwatchuk.wordpress.com/2011...0th-july-2011/

Gareth
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Old 09-05-2011, 02:49 PM
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saintlukesguild saintlukesguild is offline
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Re: Vermeer Lacemaker Study (WIP)

I went to both links. The Pascal Cotte infomercial was amusing. Is it some cutting edge form of Photoshop? Is the idea to replace every painting on every museum wall with digital recreations of true and original colors as decreed by computer technology? What that might do to Munsell chips is far worse than a restoration hand stripping original paint.

The Art Watch squib bordered on polemic absurdity with the inclusion of "Girl with a flute." This little painting was a hybrid mess when the Nat. Gallery, Wash., D.C. acquired it, and they deemed it "attributed to Vermeer." That later was changed to "in the circle of Vermeer." Modern science is satisfied that the panel and the paint is 17th century. Beyond that speculation runs rampant: Vermeer started it but died before he could finish it; another hand finished it in Vermeer's style more or less; it was never a Vermeer painting. This quandary is described in great detail in "Johannes Vermeer," the catalog of the Vermeer exhibition in Washington Nov. 1995 to Feb. 1996.

The horrors of painting restoration needs a proper context. That context lies between the execution of the masterpiece to the invention of electricity and certainly air conditioning. How often today must we clean our computer monitors to better see what is on the screen? Imagine a painting in a room exposed to dust and dirt coming through opened windows, carbon soot from candles, lamps, stoves and open fireplaces, vaporized grease from fried meats. Cleaning a painting was as necessary as moping a floor. But clean with what? Lye soap? The earliest "restoration" was done by owners or hired hands who had no idea of paint chemistry. The exhibition catalog notes that just about every Vermeer has paint abrasion, from slight to "badly." Paint is not abraded by stroking fingers on the surface. Before the paint was abraded completely off the support, someone came up with the idea of varnish. Clean the varnish instead of the paint beneath it. Slap on another coat of varnish, etc. etc. This was the context of painting restoration long before national museums were established, and to some degree afterward, and in which the most severe damage was done, including some fool painting over parts of the original.

An example of this is Vermeer's "Woman Holding a Balance." A painting of The Last Judgment is on the background wall, the painting was in an all black frame. X-ray (I imagined) revealed two vertical stripes of underlying lead white on the right side of the frame. By whatever motive, restoration in 1994, with proper solvents, removed the black paint and revealed two "original" vertical stripes of gold or lead tin yellow. This was a blessing, for the gold stripes gave perfect compositional balance to the other golden tones in the painting.

None of this of course has any application whatever to Susanne's attempt to copy "Lacemaker."

WELCOME BACK SUSANNE!!!!!!! WE MISSED YOU!
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Old 09-05-2011, 06:48 PM
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Gareth Hawker Gareth Hawker is offline
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Re: Vermeer Lacemaker Study (WIP)

saintlukesguild,

I feel your comments require a response, but rather than filling up Susanne's thread with what is essentially a digression, I thought I had better start a new thread.

So please click on this link to read my reply:

Vermeer's disappearing necklace
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show...5#post14029025

Gareth
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Old 09-28-2011, 07:42 PM
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Yellow Ogre Yellow Ogre is offline
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Re: Vermeer Lacemaker Study (WIP)

Marigold,

Lovely painting. a most interesting and informative thread. Thank you.
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Old 11-22-2011, 01:29 PM
Nuieve Nuieve is offline
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Re: Vermeer Lacemaker Study (WIP)

Thanks for the link!
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Old 02-19-2012, 05:11 PM
Painting Bas Painting Bas is offline
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Red face Re: Vermeer Lacemaker Study (WIP)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marigold
Hello,

The next stage of my Laceaker study got finished last night. On top of my finished underpainting, I have repainted the entire picture in earth colors.



This will be followed by the more chromatic colors: the yellows, blues, greens and reds. Also, all the highlights are still missing, as well as the coolor shades on the background wall and on the hair. The present earth tones are intended to be left as they are, or at least shine through, in much of the shadow and halftone areas.

I have a tendency to do things more complicated than they need be, did I do an unnecessary intermediate step? What do I need a second underpainting for? There are two reasons why I did it that way. One, I have tried to replicate what colors I saw (though often only guessed) below the final colors in my references. Two, I feel by working this way I can create a unity in the picture that I like.

All comments welcome

Hello Marigold, your project is very interesting to me and my compliments on how thoughtful you do it. From what I have understood about Vermeer you were on the right track. I don't think the earth colors are an unnecessary step in between, for you indicate the final colors, prepare for glazing and get that unity indeed. May I ask what color you did the grisaille with? Does it matter what color you choose? And what were the earth colors you used? Thanks a lot for showing the process of your copy. After tuition by e-mail from an American painter I endeavoured a copy after Willem Kalf. Well then you really find out what a lot of work his painting must have been
Susanne
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Old 02-19-2012, 05:22 PM
Painting Bas Painting Bas is offline
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Question Re: Vermeer Lacemaker Study (WIP)

Hello Marigold, it seems that my reaction ended the thread? How did your copy go after the earth-colors?
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