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Varnishing as part of the conservation treatment of easel paintings

Authored by: Michael von der Goltz , Robert G. Proctor , Jill Whitten , Lance Mayer , Gay Myers , Ann Hoenigswald , Michael Swicklik

Conservation of Easel Paintings

Print publication date:  November  2020
Online publication date:  November  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367023799
eBook ISBN: 9780429399916
Adobe ISBN:


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Varnishing is often the final phase of a conservation treatment. It has important optical and aesthetic consequences, and it influences the whole structure and long-term condition of the painting. The conservator must proceed case by case, deciding which varnish to use for each painting and how to apply it, and may elect to leave the painting unvarnished. Discussions on the choices of varnish materials in the twentieth century often focused on ‘natural vs synthetic’ or low-molecular weight varnishes (LMW) vs polymeric resins.

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