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Binders in Paintings

  • Richard Newman

Extract

Many naturally occurring adhesive materials have been used throughout history to bind pigments in paintings. A number of synthetic materials have been added to these during the twentieth century.

Availability and tradition can influence the choice of binders made by artists. Probably the most widely used medium throughout history, animal glue, is also the most easily obtained. Glues made from the connective tissues or skins of local animals were major media in ancient Egyptian painting and in Chinese and Japanese painting, as well as in many other cultures throughout world history. In many cases, a variety of natural binders were available, and additional factors influenced the choice of binder by a culture. Different media have highly variable properties that affect how they are used in painting. Among these properties are solubility, the transparency or depth of color that is obtainable with a given pigment, and handling properties–how the paint flows, how quickly it dries, whether it can be applied in very thick and very thin layers, etc. Knowledge of the media utilized in paintings can help us understand the intentions of artists. Medieval European painting can be used as an example.

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References

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The references included here are for further reading and by no means represent a balanced overview of the extensive literature of the subject covered in this article.

1.Johnson, M. and Packard, E., Studies in Conservation 16 (1971) p. 145.
2.Wolbers, R., Sterman, R.N., and Stavroudis, C., Notes for Workshop on New Methods in the Cleaning of Paintings (The Getty Conservation Institute, Marina del Rey, CA) p. 49.
3.Kockaert, L., Gausset, P., and Dubi-Rucquoy, M., Studies in Conservation 34 (1989) p. 183.
4.Derrick, M., in Practical Guide to Infrared Microspectroscopy, edited by Humecki, H. (Marcel Dekker, New York, 1995) p. 287.
5.Derrick, M., Souza, L., Kieslich, T., Florsheim, H., and Stulik, D., J. Am. Inst. Conservation 33 (1994) p. 227.
6.Pile, J. and White, R., Natl. Gallery Tech. Bull. 16 (1995) p. 73.
7.Boon, J., in Turner's Painting Techniques in Context 1995, edited by Townsend, J. (UKIC, London, 1995) p. 35.
8.Shedrinsky, A. and Baer, N., in Applied Pyrolysis Handbook, edited by Wampler, T. (Marcel Dekker, New York, 1995) p. 125.
9.Derrick, M. and Stulik, D., in ICOM Committee for Conservation 9th Triennial Meeting, Dresden, German Democratic Republic, 26-31 August 1990 Preprints (ICOM Committee for Conservation, Los Angeles, 1990) p. 9.
10.Chiavari, G., Galletti, G., Lanterna, G., and Mazzeo, R., J. Anal. Appl. Pyrolysis 24 (1993) p. 227.
11.Challinor, J., in Applied Pyrolysis Handbook, edited by Wampler, T. (Marcel Dekker, New York, 1995) p. 207.
12.Mills, J. and White, R., Natl. Gallery Tech. Bull. 4 (1980) p. 65.
13.Mills, J. and White, R., Natl. Gallery Tech. Bull. 6 (1982) p. 3.
14.Schilling, M. and Khanjian, H., “Gas Chromatographic Determination of the Fatty Acid and Glycerol Content of Lipids. I. The Effects of Pigments and Aging on the Composition of Oil Paints” (unpublished manuscript).
15.Mills, J. and White, R., Natl. Gallery Tech. Bull. 9 (1985) p. 60.
16.White, R. and Pilc, J., Natl. Gallery Tech. Bull. 17 (1996) p. 95.
17.Schilling, M., Khanjian, H., and Souza, L., J. Am. Inst. Conservation 35 (1996) p. 45.
18.Halpine, S., Studies in Conservation 37 (1992) p. 22.
19.Wolbers, R., in The American Institute for Conservation Preprints of Papers Presented at the Sixteenth Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA, June 1–5, 1988 (American Institute for Conservation, Washington, DC, 1988) p. 245.
20.Erhardt, D., Hopwood, W., Baker, M., and von Endt, D., The American Institute for Conservation Preprints of Papers Presented at the Sixteenth Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA, June 1–5, 1988 (American Institute for Conservation, Washington, DC, 1988) p. 67.
21.Masschelein-Kleiner, L., Heylen, J., and Tricot-Marckx, F., Studies in Conservation 13 (1968) p. 105.
22.Bleton, J., Coupry, C., and Sansoulet, J., Studies in Conservation 41 (1996) p. 95.
23.Mills, J. and White, R., The Chemistry of Museum Objects, 2nd ed. (Butterworths, London, 1994).
24.White, R., Natl. Gallery Tech. Bull. 10 (1986) p. 58.
25.Serpico, M., “The Identification and Use of Varnish on New Kingdom Funerary Equipment” (unpublished manuscript).
26.White, R., Studies in Conservation 23 (1978) p. 57.
27.Stringari, C. and Pratt, E., in Saving the Twentieth Century: The Conservation of Modern Materials, edited by Grattan, D. (The Canadian Conservation Institute, Ottawa, 1993) p. 411.
28.Sonoda, N. and Rioux, J-P., Studies in Conservation 35 (1990) p. 189.
29.Sonoda, N., Rioux, J-P., and Duval, A., Studies in Conservation 39 (1993) p. 99.
30.Challinor, J., J. Anal. Appl. Pyrolysis 18 (1991) p. 233.

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