A confocal x-ray fluorescence microscope was built at the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS) to determine the composition of buried paint layers that range from 10–80 μm thick in paintings. The microscope consists of a borosilicate monocapillary optic to focus the incident beam and a borosilicate polycapillary lens to collect the fluorescent x-rays. The overlap of the two focal regions is several tens of microns in extent, and defines the active, or confocal, volume of the microscope. The capabilities of the technique were tested using acrylic paint films with distinct layers brushed onto glass slides and a twentieth century oil painting on canvas. The position and thickness of individual layers were extracted from their fluorescence profiles by fitting to a simple, semi-empirical model.