Friday, July 8, 2011

Palette and Brushes belonging to William Holman Hunt (photo)


Compares Pre-Raphaelite painter William Holman Hunt's extensive comments on his painting materials in his letters, articles, lectures, and interviews with evidence from four surviving palettes. Analysis confirms Hunt's use of the pigments he is recorded as favoring: vermilion, carmine madder; dark yellow madder, cadmium yellow; oxide of chromium, chrome green, and emerald green, sometimes with gamboge; natural ultramarine, Prussian blues, cobalt blue; sienna, umbers, Cologne earth, and lead white. Medium analysis revealed poppy seed oil in the whites and yellows and linseed and possibly walnut in many of the others. Pine resin was found in most samples. Paintings show evidence of extensive reworking, sometimes over long periods of time. He added strips of canvas and scraped down unsatisfactory passages, reapplied ground, and repainted them, sometimes multiple times, and sometimes had canvases lined as he worked on them. Analysis of Il Dolce far Niente, (1860, oil on canvas), with radiography, raking light, and ultraviolet light reveals the painting's evolution and some of the pigments. Two palettes are illustrated.

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