Framing Egg Tempera under GlassApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
Question asked 2017-02-15 08:19:14 ...
Most recent comment 2017-02-15 10:40:00
Matting, Framing, and Glazing
Egg Tempera artists are sometimes told to frame work under glass, to protect the initially vulnerable surface of tempera from scratches. Both tempera's ground (traditional gesso) and support (wood-based panel) are hygroscopic. Does framing egg tempera under glass protect the work from ambient moisture, or is glazing more likely to trap moisture, potentially leading to mold, delamination, etc.?
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EditDeleteModerator AnswerHi Koo
In my opinion, the framing and glazing of recent temperas is mostly to protect from physical damage. There are some interesting issues that do result, such as a build of of fatty acid efflorescence on the inside of the glass. In general, placing a work inside of an environmental envelope like a frame with glazing and a backing board will slow down the change in temperature and relative humidity experience by a painting. However, with canvas paintings that live in a humid environment, we suggest that the backing board be vented to allow air flow and to avoid creating a micro environment which may trap moisture and contribute to mold growth. Whether to vent or not vent a backing board may be less of an issue than with canvas paintings due to the panel support, but I am not positive. At the other extreme, museums that lend Old Master tempera paintings routinely have them sealed into a airtight frame/glazing package, sometimes with special materials that regulate relative humidity. This is mostly done to maintain a "safe and stable" environment during travel to minimize expansion and contraction of the panel due to changes in the environment which could cause possible damage. This is, of course, the extreme and an unlikely scenario for a practicing artist. We have sent an email to Dr. Stoner, again, to get her opinion as she is very experienced with framed contemporary egg tempera paintings. Depending on her answer, I may be able to reach out to preventive conservation, framing and exhibition experts for further clarification.
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