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MITRA Forum Question Details

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  • Prime grounds for canvasesApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2017-01-03 13:54:46 ... Most recent comment 2017-01-03 16:17:00
    Grounds / Priming
    Hello, I would be interested in knowing what you use for priming on canvasses, what are your recipes and ways of applying ? Precisions on century accuracy and references would be very much appreciated ! Thank you in advance for sharing your discoveries and works on this very basic but fondamental subject.

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​The subject of grounds and priming is far too vast to cover in one response....I can certainly point you towards a few good references where you can gather some information as far as what was typically used when. 

    But first I should state that in many artist manuals and treatises you can find an abundance of recipes. However not all of these were used by Old Master painters (despite the claims made by some) and some are not recommended if you are striving for longevity and preservation. For a breakdown of the various grounds/primings that are typically used today you can download our "Grounds and Primers" document in the Resource section. Be sure to scroll down to the very bottom where you will find links to useful websites and other references. ​For starters I would get yourself a copy of Mark Gottsegen's book (The Painter's Handbook) as he has included some decent recipes for grounds. If you want to really delve in head first into some technical art history research you might check out a copy of "The Conservation of Easel Paintings" (edited by Dr. Joyce Hill Stoner and Rebecca Rushfield) and look over the chapter on grounds. There is also a rather niche publication that came out a few years back that emerged from an entire conference on grounds which you can find under Archetype's website here and of course the grounds section​ in our Kress Technical Art History website. But realize that the latter two references focus mostly on traditional grounds....grounds and priming recipes become increasingly more complex by the 19th century, particularly with the advent of pre-primed commercial canvases. If you should stumble upon some recipes that you are interested in trying in combination with your preferred type of support and painting technique, feel free to re-post and we can do our best to give any advice that we might have. 

    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2017-01-03 16:41:20
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser CommentDear Kristin, Thank you for this very complete answer, actually few references I did not know about could be of use to me in extending my research, but what I really want to know is what people today have found relevant, what is their favorite choice in other words ! As you pointed it out, there is a large variety of recipes and I am interested in knowing about small changes or habits people could have developed through this century and the last, just like the painters from the 19th century did by following previous masters. I already know about the techniques employed in the past so, as a conservator and alchemist painter, I am interested about what is going on now ! Nevertheless, thank you for your time and these multiple paths I am eager to dig into. (This is a neverending subject like anything linked to craftmanhship!) - Ségolène Girard Co.
    2017-01-04 13:36:54

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