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Oil painting on tinplate by Francisco José Resende

Techniques, materials and degradation of three nineteenth century paintings
Ana Rita Veiga

Résumés

Cet article se concentre sur l'étude des techniques d'exécution, des matériaux et de l'état de conservation de trois peintures à l'huile sur fer-blanc (acier couvert d'étain) du peintre portugais Francisco José Resende (1825 – 1893). Bien que le choix de peindre sur un support métallique n'était pas commun au XIXème siècle, cet auteur a exécuté au long de sa vie différentes œuvres sur ce substrat. Dans ces recherches, apparaissent les résultats comparatifs de la technique d'exécution de Francisco Resende et des matériaux présents dans les couches picturales et dans le support des trois œuvres faisant l'objet de l'étude. Bien qu'elles aient été exécutées à des dates similaires, on remarque des problèmes de conservation distincts - notamment les détachements, les cloques et la corrosion -, qui sont décrits et liés aux matériaux constituants des peintures.

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Notes de la rédaction

Universidade Católica Portuguesa – Eduarda Vieira

Texte intégral

The author would like to thank Ana Calvo and Isabel Tissot for their encouragement and support; Luis Malheiros for enabling the SEM-EDX and OM analysis to the metallic samples; the National Museum Soares dos Reis and Oporto City Hall for entrusting the author with the paintings. The author also thanks the project “Materials and Techniques of Painters from the North of Portugal” (MTPNP), developed by CITAR (Research Center for Science and Technology in Art) at the Portuguese Catholic University, Oporto, and co-funded by Quadro de Referência Estratégico Nacional (QREN) and Programa ON. 2 – O Novo Norte - Eixo Prioritário III - Valorização e Qualificação Ambiental e Territorial, Domínio Património Cultura, for enable the photographs, OM and EDXRF analysis.

Introduction

  • 1  BOWRON, E., A brief history of European Oil Paintings on Copper, 1560-1775, Copper as Canvas: Two (...)
  • 2 Several articles, focusing on case studies, have been published on this subject. A general overview (...)
  • 3  PAVLOPOULOU, L., WATKINSON, D., The degradation of oil painted copper surfaces, Reviews in Conserv (...)
  • 4  SANTOS, P., “F. Francken II, Peeter Neefs e Simon de Vos: pintura em cobre nos museus do Porto e B (...)

1Oil paintings on metallic supports have recently attracted more attention, especially concerning their historical background1, technical execution2 and deterioration processes3. The studies that have so far been published on this topic focus mostly on works made on copper alloy supports, which have been used most frequently in the past. The identity of Portuguese artists who practised this painting is not very well known. However, some references have been published in regards to the existence of Flemish works in this country4.

2Paintings on metal supports are usually associated with the idea of highly detailed works applied in thin layers, as in the case of most paintings from the second half of the sixteenth and from the seventeenth centuries. However, when comparing their execution technique with the one of the nineteenth century paintings made by Francisco José Resende (1825-1893), several differences can be observed. This painter executed several oil paintings on metal supports throughout his life, as well as on canvas, wood and cardboard. Understanding the reasons for the painter’s choice to paint on metal supports presents an interesting subject of discussion, especially when considering that the use of this material was less common in the nineteenth century. It is important to understand whether he used them solely in their function as supports, or if the artist intended to achieve particular aesthetic effects through them.

3In order to understand the painter’s choice and to describe his execution technique and the materials he employed, three of his oil paintings on a metal support were studied. Another reason for examining these paintings were their serious deterioration problems, the causes of which, as will be explained below, relate to the metal support, materials employed in the paint layers and storage conditions.

4The three case studies are “Self-Portrait” (1890, fig. 1), “Bust of António Soller” (1882, fig. 2) and “Murtosa’s Peasant” (1879, fig. 3), which are signed and dated by the painter. The first belongs to Oporto’s City Council, while the last two are from Fernando de Castro Museum in Oporto. The three paintings are stored in the depots of the museums.

Fig. 1  Self-portrait. Francisco José Resende

Fig. 1  Self-portrait. Francisco José Resende

Oil on tinplate. 1890. 49,2 x 42,7 cm. Oporto city council.

Photographic credits: Luis Ribeiro / Materials and Techniques of Painters from the North of Portugal (MTPNP)

Fig. 2  Bust of António Soller. Francisco José Resende

Fig. 2  Bust of António Soller. Francisco José Resende

Oil on tinplate. 1882. 43,1 x 31,8 cm. Fernando de Castro Museum, Oporto.

Photographic credits: Luis Ribeiro /MTPNP

Fig. 3  Murtosa’s Peasant. Francisco José Resende

Fig. 3  Murtosa’s Peasant. Francisco José Resende

Oil on tinplate. 1879. 43,7 x 31,8 cm. Fernando de Castro Museum, Oporto.

Photographic credits: Luis Ribeiro /MTPNP

Francisco José Resende's painting technique

5Francisco José Resende de Vasconcelos was a well known Portuguese painter of the city of Oporto and can be regarded as a representative figure of Romanticism. He studied painting at Oporto Academy of Fine Arts and, afterwards, became a student of Augusto Roquemont, in Portugal, and Adolphe Yvon, in Paris, where he went in 1853, courtesy of an an allowance from the king D. Fernando. In 1855 he returned to Oporto, becoming a professor in Oporto Academy of Fine Arts.
He painted portraits (fig. 1, 2), landscapes and religious themes, but is best known for genre scenes (fig. 3).

6The three paintings show some differences regarding their execution technique. "Self Portrait", a ¾ representation of the painter with a sober look and pose, demonstrates major variation in brushstrokes, when compared to the other two paintings. The face is the most expressive area and stands out in its luminosity and detail, unlike other areas which show very flat colors. It should be noted that the artist alternates between impastos, especially in the nose and right side of his forehead, and very thinly applied diluted paint. These areas are mostly located between the eyes and mustache (fig. 4) and because of the very thin and transparent layer it is possible to obtain a slight shine caused by the support’s brightness, at least when seen from certain angles. The same effect can be seen on other paintings, such as in “Bust of António Soller”. This leads us to one particular question: did the artist choose the metal only for its structural function or in order to achieve particular aesthetic effects? – It seems plausible that the painter used the metal support to influence the appearance of the painting, because the slight shine that can be seen in some painted areas could not otherwise be obtained had the painting  been done on another support. However, the use of thin and transparent layers is also noticeable in some of the artist’s canvas and cardboards, which means its application is related to his general painting technique and is not dependent on the type of support he uses. Perhaps other factors can be taken into account when considering the use of metal, such as: the price, the fact that this type of support might be easy to obtain and prepare, the experimentalist spirit of the painter, or simply the pleasure of painting on a flat and rigid support.

7At first glance, “Bust of António Soller” presents itself as an austere painting of simple composition and few colour variations. However, a closer view reveals, particularly in the sky, a slight tonal variation achieved through brushstrokes marked with similar hues ranging from green to brown and grey. First the painter might have drawn the contours with a very thin brown layer, slightly pigmented, and later worked on the interior volumes.

  • 5 MOURATO, A., Francisco José Resende (1825-1893): Figura do Porto Romântico, Porto, Edições Afrontam (...)

8In “Murtosa’s Peasant” greater attention was given to the representation of the female figure and to the traditional vest she is wearing (from Murtosa town, in Aveiro district), while the background is painted in a very simple manner.This type of painting is fairly common in the painter’s œuvre.
The painter often resorted to photographs of models dressed in folk costumes to make his paintings, and perhaps the simplicity of the background may be related to the scarcity of the funds with which the models were photographed5.

Fig. 4  Detail of Self-portrait

Fig. 4  Detail of Self-portrait

Detail of Self-portrait, where it can be seen that the brushstrokes vary from thin glazes to impastos.

Photographic credits: Luis Ribeiro /MTPNP

Fig. 5  Reverse of Self-portrait

Fig. 5  Reverse of Self-portrait

Monochromatic layer and painted inscription on the reverse

Photographic credits: Luis Ribeiro /MTPNP

9A common feature in Francisco José Resende’s works – which is also evident in his paintings on canvas and board –, is the use of inscriptions, either on the front or on the reverse of the works. These inscriptions may consist on simple data – such as the date and place of execution – or long texts of biographical nature. The latter can be found on the reverse of his Self-portrait (fig. 5), in which the painter painted a monochrome red layer, and in its lower half executed the inscription in black ink with a brush. Among the extensive biographical data, the painter also made a note on the time of completion of the painting – "¾ hours." The method used in this inscription is different from the one present on the shoulder of the portrayed: an incision made with a thin and sharp instrument on the fresh ink of the paint layer.

10The reverse of  “Murtosa’s Peasant” and “Bust of António Soller” also have inscriptions: in the first work it was painted in white over a thin green layer (fig. 6) and in the second case, it was made with a sharp object and directly scratched onto the metal surface (fig. 7).

11The artist often made these kind of inscriptions and their form of execution was quite varied. Four different situations can be observed on the reverse of his paintings: 1. the artist leaves the metal exposed, performing no inscription; 2. he applies a monochrome layer and does not execute any inscription; 3. he applies a paint layer and makes the inscription (painted or scraped) into it; 4. the artist executes an inscription without applying any paint layer.

12As for the front of the painting, the artist, sometimes, also carried out inscriptions through the application of paint, or by scratching into the paint layers before they dried.  

Fig. 6 Reverse of Murtosa’s peasant

Fig. 6 Reverse of Murtosa’s peasant

Reverse of Murtosa’s peasant, showing the inscription above a green paint layer.

Photographic credits: Luis Ribeiro /MTPNP

Fig. 7  Detail of the reverse of Bust of António Soller

Fig. 7  Detail of the reverse of Bust of António Soller

The inscription is made directly on the metal, with a thin instrument.

Photographic credits: Luis Ribeiro /MTPNP

Examination and analysis

13The technical photography was made with a Nikon D70 digital camera, with the use of a Kodak Wratten 87C filter for the infrared photography (IR) and a Kodak Wratten 2E filter for the ultraviolet fluorescence photography (UV).
The identification of the pigments and fillers was made through the detection of their chemical elements, utilizing for this purpose an energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence portable spectrometer (EDXRF), consisting of an X-ray tube with an Ag anode, a detector Si-PIN Amptek thermoelectric cooling, with 7 mm2 of effective area, a Be window with 7 mm diameter, an energy of 180 eV, and a multi-channel system Pocket MCA 8000A of AMPTEK. All areas were examined at 25kV voltage, a 9 mA current; the acquisition time was of 350s.
Samples taken from the paint layer were placed in an acrylic resin Tecnovit 4004 and observed by optical microscopy (OM) at 100 and 200x magnification with a binocular microscope, Olympus model BX41, equipped with an Olympus Digital C-4040 zoom camera with infinity corrected optical system.

14A sample from the metal support of each of the paintings was taken and embedded in an epoxy resin Epofix Struens, and coated with carbon to increase the conductivity. These metallic samples were also analyzed by scanning electron microscopy – energy dispersive X-ray analysis (SEM-EDX), using a JEOL JSM 35C microscope with a Noran Voyager spectrometer; and observed by OM after attack with nitric acid 4%.

The painting materials

The support

  • 6  SINGER, C. [et al.], A History of Technology: The Industrial Revolution c. 1750 to c. 1850, 6ª ed, (...)

15The SEM-EDX analysis of the samples taken from the metal supports showed that the same type of support consisting of a metallic core of steel (iron and carbon), coated with a thin layer of tin on both sides (fig. 8) was used for the three paintings. The steel sheets were rolled and then immersed in a tank containing liquid tin to acquire the metal coating6. The tin coating is very irregular and presents several fissures.
The metal microstructure, observed by OM, revealed that the steel has low carbon content.

  • 7  However, it is known that in the nineteenth century the brand Winsor & Newton commercialized and p (...)
  • 8 Amonge the twelve Francisco Resende’s oil paintings on metal that were observed, the smallest measu (...)

16Some impurities were detected by SEM-EDX in the metallic core, such as silicon and phosphorus oxides, which are elongated due to the rolling of steel (fig. 9).
It is likely that these supports were sold for general purposes, and not specifically as fine arts material7. It should also be noted that similarities were found between the dimensions of some of his paintings8.

Fig. 8  Scanning electron photomicrograph of the metallic support sample of Bust of António Soller

Fig. 8  Scanning electron photomicrograph of the metallic support sample of Bust of António Soller

Photographed at 1500x. Z1 – Metal core of iron and carbon / Z2 – Phosphorous and silicon oxides / Z3 – Iron oxide s/ Z4 – Tin coating / Z5 – Iron oxides

Photographic credits: Materials Centre of the University of Porto (CEMUP)

Fig. 9 Metallic sample of Bust of António Soller

Fig. 9 Metallic sample of Bust of António Soller

Metallic sample of Bust of António Soller viewed under optical microscopy.

Photographic credits: Faculty of Engineering of University of Oporto

The paint layers

17It is uncertain if the artist always applied an imprimatura layer over the support, because it is present in “Self-portrait” and “Bust of António Soller”, but it does not seem to be present in “Murtosa’s Peasant”.

18In “Self-portrait” the artist applied a white layer, composed of lead white and possibly zinc white over the entire support. But in “Bust of Antonio Soller” the painter choose to apply only an imprimatura in the lighter areas of the composition, as suggested by the cross-sections and direct observation of the painting.

19In “Murtosa’s Peasant”, Francisco José Resende does not seem to have applied an imprimatura, instead he painted directly on the support.

20Regardless of the characteristics of this first white layer, it should be mentioned that its functions differ from those usually attributed to ground layers on canvas and wooden supports. In this case, the metal support is smooth and flat, so that application has mostly an optical function, i.e.: to brighten the surface, thus being regarded mainly as an imprimatura. Particularly in the case of “Bust of António Soller”, the apparent presence of a localized white layer may be derived from the desire to brighten the colours, such as those used in the flesh and the sky. Because the clothing of the figure has a darker tone it therefore did not seem necessary to apply the white layer in this area.

21The layer structure of “Self-portrait” and “Bust of António Soller” is simple, with one to three thin layers, as seen in the cross-sections. Curiously, the reverse of “Self-portrait” has a more complex structure consisting of four layers, the third one being white, possibly to provide luminosity for a new colour. A coating material, possibly a varnish (ill. 10) is also present. Vermillion was detected on the reverse by the presence of Hg in the EDXRF analysis, although no birefringent particles were observed on this cross-section. In two of the samples of “Murtosa’s Peasant” evidence can be found that a "wet-in-wet" technique was used. If in the first two studied works the artist seems to mix the colours on the palette and then apply the mixed colour, some samples of “Murtosa’s Peasant” suggest that he may have created the final colour by applying overlapping layers of pure colour.
The OM observation and the SEM-EDX analysis of four cross-sections of “Murtosa’s Peasant” revealed that, at the bottom of the samples, a particle of tin oxide from the support is present.

22A particular difficulty arose during pigment identification through EDXRF because the elements that were being detected could refer not only to pigments, but also to the metallic support. In fact, iron was detected in all analysed areas on the three paintings. The identified pigments through EXRDF were lead white, zinc white, iron oxides, and barium – probably as extender or in the form of pigment lithopone with zinc. In “Self-portrait” and “Murtosa’s Peasant” vermilion was also detected. No green and blue pigments were able to be identified by this technique. The artist also used a carbon black in the jacket of “Bust of António Soller”, as determined by SEM-EDX analysis on a cross-section of that area.

23The knowledge of the technical and material characteristics of the paintings - such as the pigments employed, sequence and number of paint layers, type of metal -, is of major importance to assess the current condition of the paintings, as outlined below.

Fig. 10  Cross-section of the paint layer applied on the reverse of Self-portrait

Fig. 10  Cross-section of the paint layer applied on the reverse of Self-portrait

Cross-section of the paint layer applied on the reverse of Self-portrait, where four paint layers (1-4) and a coating (5) can be seen. Photographed at 200x.

Photographic credits: Luis Ribeiro / MTPNP

Degradation

The support

24Once the three paintings were taken out of their frames the deformation of the supports became apparent. Additionally, they showed local distortions, particularly along the edges, caused by mechanical impacts and stemming from the inadequate frame with nails (fig. 5). These deformations are aggravated by the fact that the steel core has a low carbon content, which is less rigid than steel with a higher percentage of carbon.

25“Murtosa’s Peasant” shows an advanced corrosion process on the front and reverse (fig. 3, 6), although it is less noticeable on the front because the paint layers provide some protection against the permeation of moisture. In some chromatic areas, especially the lighter ones, an orange tone can be seen derived from the migration of iron corrosion products.

26To understand how tinplate corrodes, it should be noted that tin is applied as a metallic coating which acts as a physical barrier, preventing the contact of steel with moisture and oxygen. When the tin coating is interrupted – as revealed by SEM (fig. 8) –, the steel is directly exposed to its surroundings. In the presence of an electrolyte, an electrochemical cell between the iron and tin can be established. The iron behaves as the anode and oxidizes, and tin acts as the cathode.
A paradigmatic case of this situation is the reverse of “Bust of António Soller”, where the inscription incision made by the artist appears to have broken the tin coating, so corrosion products, from the underlying iron, can be seen only where the inscription was made (fig. 7).

The paint layers

27Among the three works “Self-portrait” is the one in the best condition. However, on the reverse, a drying craquelure extending over the entire monochromatic layer, can be seen. This is likely to have derived from an excessive use of drying agents, which were possibly used to allow the artist to make his inscription more quickly. “Bust of António Soller” presents blistering in the paint layer in some dark areas, resulting in paint loss in several locations (fig. 11). In “Murtosa’s Peasant” severe delamination of the paint layer from the support is present, including paint loss and some blistering (fig. 3, 12).

28Among the causes which have contributed to the blistering and lack of adherence, moisture diffusion in the metal/ painting interface, probably derived from prolonged exposure to an excessive moisturized environment can be noted. In “Murtosa’s Peasant” a 1,5 cm wide strip along the edges was covered by the frame’s rebate reducing its exposure to humidity and therefore better adherence of the paint layer to the support is present in this area (fig. 12).

Fig. 11 Detail of Bust of António Soller

Fig. 11 Detail of Bust of António Soller

Detail of the eyes of Bust of António Soller, that evidence blistering.

Photographic credits: Luis Ribeiro / MTPNP

Fig. 12  Detail of Murtosa’s Peasant

Fig. 12  Detail of Murtosa’s Peasant

Detail of the edges of Murtosa’s Peasant.

Photographic credits: Luis Ribeiro / MTPNP

  • 9 PAVLOPOULOU, L., Oil Paint on Copper: a study of decay mechanisms, Master thesis (MSc), Cardiff, Un (...)
  • 10  In addition to the note mentioned above, see DE LA FUENTE, D., CHICO, B., MORCILLO, M., “The effec (...)

29According to published literature9, moisture diffusion along the interface may have weakend the chemical and physical interactions established between the support and the paint layer; causing swelling and hydrolysis of the binding medium; and it may also aggravate corrosion. The volume increase of the metal alteration products, particularly those of iron, can lead to delamination of the paint layer. In fact, as mentioned before, in the lighter areas of “Murtosa’s Peasant” an orange tone from iron corrosion products, can be seen.
The presence of salts in the interface, which can promote osmotic pressure gradients; and the generation of hydroxyl ions by the cathodic reaction, that creates an increase in alkalinity, are also mentioned as factors that can contribute to blister formation and delamination of the paint layer10.

  • 11  The permeability of a painting may be diminished by the addiction of pigments until a certain limi (...)

30External factors, such as the paintings’ storage conditions, certain internal characteristics of the materials and execution technique all have played a role in the current state of deterioration. The moisture can penetrate through higher permeability zones or fault lines of paint, depending on factors such as the binder polymerization degree (which over time becomes less hydrophobic), number and thickness of paint layers, type of pigments and pigment volume concentration11. The paint layers of “Murtosa’s Peasant” are thin, which makes them more vulnerable to the penetration of moisture.

31In “Bust of António Soller”, the brown and black areas that show blisters are mainly composed of a thin layer based on iron oxides and carbon black, with some lead white in the mix. This can mean that these areas are more vulnerable to moisture penetration, when compared with those areas that seem to have lead white and zinc white in the imprimatura layer, present in the lighter areas. Moreover, some pigments, such as those based on lead and zinc, can create a denser layer, compared with iron oxides pigments, which require a greater amount of binding medium to be mixed, according to their characteristic index of oil absorption. These will account for a significantly thinner and less dense coating, which will probably result in increased moisture and oxygen permeation through the paint layers.
Likewise, in “Murtosa’s Peasant”, besides the edges of the painting, the only areas that have less delamination are the white shirt, bright areas of the sky, the red hat and some parts in the face, possibly due to presence of lead white.

32In “Bust of António Soller”, brown and black areas with good adherence to the support and areas with blistering in similar colours were analyzed by EDXRF. Although the identified elements are the same, particularly iron and lead, the two zones present a different response to the U.V. fluorescence photographs and I.V. digital photographs. In general, areas with blisters show a black coloration on the I.V. digital photograph, while the remaining areas with good adherence are permeable to radiation, appearing grey in the I.V. photographic image. This may due to the fact that the delaminated areas are discontinued, so radiation cannot penetrate or be reflected in the same way.

Conclusion

33This study focused on the analysis of various aspects of Francisco José Resende’s painting technique. Some features, like the application of rather transparent areas and impastos, are also present in the artist's works on canvas and cardboard. A particularly important aspect consists on the fact that the painter made common use of inscriptions, whether on the front of the painting, on its reverse, or both.
Three of his oil paintings on metal were subject to a technical study, which revealed the use of tinplate in both cases. The pigments detected were lead white, zinc white, vermillion, iron oxides, carbon black, zinc white and barium. The adoption of an imprimatura layer as a usual working step is questionable, since it was not found in all of the three studied paintings.
The materials employed and their characteristics - as the number and sequence of paint layers, the type of pigments and the metal support – as well as the type of environment to which they were exposed had fundamental influence on the paintings’ condition. All these factors highlight that preventive conservation plays an essential role when dealing and caring for this type of paintings.

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Bibliographie

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BIERWAGEN, G., “Reflections on corrosion control by organic coatings”, Progress in Organic Coatings, Elsevier, 1996, 28, pp. 43-48.
DOI : 10.1016/0300-9440(95)00588-9

BROERS, N., Paintings on Copper: Interaction between copper supports and the materials used in their preparation and paint layers,Master thesis, Newcastle, University of Northumbria, 2003.

CARLYLE, L., The artist's assistant: oil painting instruction manuals and handbooks in Britain 1800-1900 with reference to selected eighteenth-century sources, London, Archetype, 2001.

CORFIELD, M., “Tin and tinplate, technology and conservation”, Modern metals in museums, edited by CHILD, R.; TOWNSEND, J., London, Institute of Archaeology Publications, 1988, pp. 33-36.

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GREENFIELD, D., SCANTLEBURY, J., “Blistering and delamination processes on coated steel”, The Journal of Corrosion Science and Engineering, 2000, 2.

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MOURATO, A., Cor e melancolia: uma biografia do pintor Francisco José Resende, Master thesis, Faculty of Letters, University of Oporto, 2000.

MOURATO, A., Francisco José Resende (1825-1893): Figura do Porto Romântico,  Porto, Edições Afrontamento, 2007.

PAVLOPOULOU, L., WATKINSON, D., The degradation of oil painted copper surfaces, Reviews in Conservation, London, International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, 2006, 7, pp. 55-65.

PAVLOPOULOU, L., Oil Paint on Copper: a study of decay mechanisms, Master thesis (MSc), Cardiff, University of Wales College, 2004.

PETIT, J.; ROIRE, J.; VALOT, H., Encyclopédie de la peinture. Formuler, fariquer, appliquer, Tome I, Luteaux, EREC éditeur, 1999, pp. 207-221.

PHOENIX ART MUSEUM, Copper as Canvas: Two Centuries of Masterpiece Painting on Copper, 1575-1775, New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

SANTOS, P., “F. Francken II, Peeter Neefs e Simon de Vos: pintura em cobre nos museus do Porto e Beja”, Portugal: Encruzilhada de culturas, das artes e das sensibilidades: Actas. II CONGRESSO INTERNACIONAL DE HISTÓRIA DA ARTE. 2001. Coimbra, Almedina, 2004, pp. 792-815.

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THISTLEWOOD, J.; NORTHOVER, P., “Corrosion analysis and treatment of two paintings on zinc supports by Frederick Preedy”, Journal of the Institute of Conservation, London, Institute of Conservation, 2009, 32, pp. 137-148.
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VEIGA, A., Técnicas de execução e fenómenos de degradação de pintura a óleo sobre suportes metálicos. Estudo de três pinturas a óleo sobre folha-de-Flandres, da autoria de Francisco José Resende. Master Thesis, Portuguese Catolic University, Oporto, 2010.

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Notes

1  BOWRON, E., A brief history of European Oil Paintings on Copper, 1560-1775, Copper as Canvas: Two Centuries of Masterpiece Painting on Copper, 1575-1775, edited by PHOENIX ART MUSEUM, New York, Oxford University Press, 1998, pp.9-30. View also KOMANECKY, M., HOROVITZ, I., EASTAUGH, N., “Antwerp artists and the practice of painting on copper”, Painting techniques history, materials and studio practice: contributions to the Dublin Congress, 7-11 September 1998, edited by ROY, A., SMITH, P., London, International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, 1998, pp. 136-139.

2 Several articles, focusing on case studies, have been published on this subject. A general overview can be obtained at HOROVITZ, I., The materials and techniques of European Paintings on copper supports, Copper as Canvas: Two Centuries of Masterpiece Painting on Copper, 1575-1775, edited by PHOENIX ART MUSEUM, New York, Oxford University Press,1998, pp. 63-92.

3  PAVLOPOULOU, L., WATKINSON, D., The degradation of oil painted copper surfaces, Reviews in Conservation, London, International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, 2006, 7, pp. 55-65. View also BROERS, N., Paintings on Copper: Interaction between copper supports and the materials used in their preparation and paint layers,Master thesis, Newcastle, University of Northumbria, 2003.

4  SANTOS, P., “F. Francken II, Peeter Neefs e Simon de Vos: pintura em cobre nos museus do Porto e Beja”, Portugal: Encruzilhada de culturas, das artes e das sensibilidades: Actas. II CONGRESSO INTERNACIONAL DE HISTÓRIA DA ARTE. 2001. Coimbra, Almedina, 2004, pp. 792-815.

5 MOURATO, A., Francisco José Resende (1825-1893): Figura do Porto Romântico, Porto, Edições Afrontamento, 2007, p. 74.

6  SINGER, C. [et al.], A History of Technology: The Industrial Revolution c. 1750 to c. 1850, 6ª ed, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1982, p. 125.

7  However, it is known that in the nineteenth century the brand Winsor & Newton commercialized and prepared zinc panels, according to the reference on their c. 1840 and 1842 catalogs. CARLYLE, L., The artist's assistant: oil painting instruction manuals and handbooks in Britain 1800-1900 with reference to selected eighteenth-century sources, London, Archetype, 2001, p. 192, 449.

8 Amonge the twelve Francisco Resende’s oil paintings on metal that were observed, the smallest measures 22x17cm, and the biggest 74,3x63,2 cm. Although the dimensions do not match exactly, they are very similar: three of the supports measure about 43,3x31,8 cm and other four measure about 35,5x25,5 cm. These similarities may hypothetically derive from standard dimensions to which tinplate was sold, or from a request by the artist to be cut that way.

9 PAVLOPOULOU, L., Oil Paint on Copper: a study of decay mechanisms, Master thesis (MSc), Cardiff, University of Wales College, 2004, pp. 53-59. And also PAVLOPOULOU, L., WATKINSON, D., “The degradation of oil painted copper surfaces”, Reviews in Conservation, London, International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, 2004, 7, pp. 55-65.

10  In addition to the note mentioned above, see DE LA FUENTE, D., CHICO, B., MORCILLO, M., “The effects of soluble salts at the metal/paint interface: advances in knowledge”, Portugaliae Electrochimica Acta, 2006, 24, pp. 191-206; FUNKE, W., “Toward a unified view of the mechanism responsible for paint defects by metallic corrosion”, Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Product Research and Development, Washington, The American Chemical Society, 1985, 24 (3), pp. 343-347; GREENFIELD, D., SCANTLEBURY, J., “Blistering and delamination processes on coated steel”, The Journal of Corrosion Science and Engineering, 2000, 2.

11  The permeability of a painting may be diminished by the addiction of pigments until a certain limit (critical pigment volume concentration – C.P.V.C.), from which the permeability arises suddenly. So, areas above C.P.V.C provide a low protection against corrosion because the binder is not sufficient to keep together the pigments, and consequently voids are created. BIERWAGEN, G., Reflections on corrosion control by organic coatings, Progress in Organic Coatings, Elsevier, 1996, 28, p. 46.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1  Self-portrait. Francisco José Resende
Légende Oil on tinplate. 1890. 49,2 x 42,7 cm. Oporto city council.
Crédits Photographic credits: Luis Ribeiro / Materials and Techniques of Painters from the North of Portugal (MTPNP)
URL http://ceroart.revues.org/docannexe/image/1775/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 52k
Titre Fig. 2  Bust of António Soller. Francisco José Resende
Légende Oil on tinplate. 1882. 43,1 x 31,8 cm. Fernando de Castro Museum, Oporto.
Crédits Photographic credits: Luis Ribeiro /MTPNP
URL http://ceroart.revues.org/docannexe/image/1775/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 40k
Titre Fig. 3  Murtosa’s Peasant. Francisco José Resende
Légende Oil on tinplate. 1879. 43,7 x 31,8 cm. Fernando de Castro Museum, Oporto.
Crédits Photographic credits: Luis Ribeiro /MTPNP
URL http://ceroart.revues.org/docannexe/image/1775/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 52k
Titre Fig. 4  Detail of Self-portrait
Légende Detail of Self-portrait, where it can be seen that the brushstrokes vary from thin glazes to impastos.
Crédits Photographic credits: Luis Ribeiro /MTPNP
URL http://ceroart.revues.org/docannexe/image/1775/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 56k
Titre Fig. 5  Reverse of Self-portrait
Légende Monochromatic layer and painted inscription on the reverse
Crédits Photographic credits: Luis Ribeiro /MTPNP
URL http://ceroart.revues.org/docannexe/image/1775/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 60k
Titre Fig. 6 Reverse of Murtosa’s peasant
Légende Reverse of Murtosa’s peasant, showing the inscription above a green paint layer.
Crédits Photographic credits: Luis Ribeiro /MTPNP
URL http://ceroart.revues.org/docannexe/image/1775/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 56k
Titre Fig. 7  Detail of the reverse of Bust of António Soller
Légende The inscription is made directly on the metal, with a thin instrument.
Crédits Photographic credits: Luis Ribeiro /MTPNP
URL http://ceroart.revues.org/docannexe/image/1775/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 36k
Titre Fig. 8  Scanning electron photomicrograph of the metallic support sample of Bust of António Soller
Légende Photographed at 1500x. Z1 – Metal core of iron and carbon / Z2 – Phosphorous and silicon oxides / Z3 – Iron oxide s/ Z4 – Tin coating / Z5 – Iron oxides
Crédits Photographic credits: Materials Centre of the University of Porto (CEMUP)
URL http://ceroart.revues.org/docannexe/image/1775/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 56k
Titre Fig. 9 Metallic sample of Bust of António Soller
Légende Metallic sample of Bust of António Soller viewed under optical microscopy.
Crédits Photographic credits: Faculty of Engineering of University of Oporto
URL http://ceroart.revues.org/docannexe/image/1775/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 380k
Titre Fig. 10  Cross-section of the paint layer applied on the reverse of Self-portrait
Légende Cross-section of the paint layer applied on the reverse of Self-portrait, where four paint layers (1-4) and a coating (5) can be seen. Photographed at 200x.
Crédits Photographic credits: Luis Ribeiro / MTPNP
URL http://ceroart.revues.org/docannexe/image/1775/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 72k
Titre Fig. 11 Detail of Bust of António Soller
Légende Detail of the eyes of Bust of António Soller, that evidence blistering.
Crédits Photographic credits: Luis Ribeiro / MTPNP
URL http://ceroart.revues.org/docannexe/image/1775/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 60k
Titre Fig. 12  Detail of Murtosa’s Peasant
Légende Detail of the edges of Murtosa’s Peasant.
Crédits Photographic credits: Luis Ribeiro / MTPNP
URL http://ceroart.revues.org/docannexe/image/1775/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 95k
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Ana Rita Veiga, « Oil painting on tinplate by Francisco José Resende », CeROArt [En ligne], 1 | 2010, mis en ligne le 18 novembre 2010, consulté le 28 juillet 2016. URL : http://ceroart.revues.org/1775

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Auteur

Ana Rita Veiga

Ana Rita Veiga has a BA and a MA in Conservation and Restoration – Painting specialization -, at the Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Porto. Since February 2010, has been working on the project “Materials and Techniques of Painters from the North of Portugal”, developed by CITAR, at the Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Porto. Contact: aritaveiga@gmail.com

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CeROArt – Conservation, exposition, restauration d'objets d'arts est mis à disposition selon les termes de la licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

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