Restoring a Masterwork II: Guercino's Erminia and the Shepherds
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Painting and Engraving

Glossary of Conservation Terms

Canvas - A closely woven textile made in various weights, usually of flax, hemp, jute, or cotton, used especially for sails, tarpaulins, awnings, upholstery, and as a support for oil painting.

Conservation - The discipline involving treatment, preventive care, and research directed toward the long-term safekeeping of cultural and natural heritage. Related to preservation and restoration

Glazing - The application of transparent, colored paint over areas of other paint to alter the appearance or color.

Ground - A coating or "primer" applied to a surface before painting to give uniform texture and absorbency. Used to prepare wooden panels or canvas for painting, gilding, or other decorative processes.

Inpainting - The introduction of new paint into and limited to areas of loss in the original paint layer in order to restore design continuity. Similar to overpainting, where additions partially or wholly cover areas of original paint.

Lining fabric - Layer of material used to line the inner side or backside of a painting to reinforce or protect it.

Medium - Any liquid or substance in which pigment is dispersed, the whole forming a pigmented coating, such as paint or ink.

Overpainting - Paint applied to a painting over already dry areas. Sometimes used to include the original artist's glazes and scumbles; sometimes, especially in conservation, used to mean only later restorers' work. Similar to inpainting, which only fills in lost areas without covering original paint.

Pigment - Use for any relatively insoluble organic, inorganic, natural or artificial substance that imparts a color to medium or mixture and always appears as the same specific color when viewed in white light. It is the constituent of paint or ink that provides the color.

Preservation - Actions taken to prevent further changes or deterioration in objects, sites, or structures. Related to conservation and restoration.

Restoration - Use for the process of making changes to an object or structure so that it will closely approximate its state at a specific time in its history. Related to conservation and preservation.

Strainer - Wood frames for the support of canvas or other textile that do not have expandable corners. Similar frames having expandable corners, called stretchers.

Stretcher - Devices or appliances for expanding a material making it taut, removing wrinkles, or the like; used especially with reference to frames upon which canvas or other textile is stretched for painting, having mitered corners that can be forced apart by wedges or some other device to firmly stretch the fabric. Similar frames that support canvas or other textile and do not have expandable corners are called strainers.

Varnish - A solution of a resin in a volatile solvent or a drying oil, which when spread out in a thin film, dries and hardens by evaporation of the volatile solvent, or by the oxidation of the oil, or both; applied as a protective coating or to enhance the appearance of the surface underneath.

All definitions from The Getty, The Art & Architecture Thesaurus