Icon Paintings Group: Tinted varnishes at the Mauritshuis: The choice for a 'gallery tone', the recipe and discontinuation

A closer look at the history and motivations for applying tinted varnishes.

At the Mauritshuis, several paintings that underwent varnish removal in the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries were afterwards given tinted varnishes. Thus we find that following removal of older varnishes, the newly cleaned appearance of the paintings were purposefully tempered with the application of varnish mixed with small amounts of pigments and dyes.

Recent research into the reasons for applying this ‘gallery tone’ and the discontinuation thereof was informed by publications by former museum directors and conservation documentation. To better understand their composition, five case studies were examined and samples were taken and analysed. This presentation highlights the history of tinted varnishes and new insights

Paul Kisner

Paul Kisner

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