Italian influence in a Portuguese Mannerist painting (part II)

Pag Helena P. Melo, António João Cruz, Sara Valadas, Ana Margarida Cardoso, Yiğit Zafer Helvacı, António Candeias, "Italian influence in a Portuguese Mannerist painting (part II): a matter of image or a matter of technique?", Studies in Conservation, 68(7), 2023, pp. 747-759, doi:10.1080/00393630.2022.2119726

 

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Abstract The panel depicting The Descent from the Cross, painted in 1620 by the Portuguese artist Pedro Nunes (1586-1637), shows a clear Italian formal influence. The painter's colour palette was identified in another paper. The panel is now investigated from a technical perspective, discussing aspects related to the support, preparatory system, and paint layer build-up. The research is based on the visual inspection of the painting's surface with complementary imaging techniques and on the analysis of the materials from the preparatory layers with microscopic and spectroscopic techniques. The characterisation of the painting technique revealed an ingenious use of colour that is based on the understanding of the optical and handling properties of oil paint. This knowledge is illustrated by the painter's ability to exploit and combine a range of different oil painting techniques, such as glazing, scumbling, wet-in-wet, or wet-in-dry painting; by his formulation of a wide variety of pigment mixtures; and by his use of diverse and often complex layering systems - some quite unconventional for Portuguese painting practice. The material and technical originality of this painting clearly reflects Nunes' international Roman experience and his desire to update the Portuguese mainstream practice of his time.
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