Morehead State University

Poster Title

Renaissance Gold Gilding

Institution

Morehead State University

Abstract

Gold leaf was once used extensively in paintings by master artists and was highly prized to the point of often being reserved for religious works. Today it has mostly been relegated to decorative uses, framing, and in the creation of icons. Because of its rarity in the fine art world, the skilled application of this technique could be an invaluable addition to an artist’s repertoire. The purpose of this project was to study the various methods of gold gilding that have been used from antiquity to modern times and to gain an understanding of the techniques and materials used. The final goal was to use this research in creating an artwork that makes extensive use of gold gilding and to document the process, necessary experimentation, and the results thereof. The methodology of this project centered around using both modern and Renaissance texts to not only successfully lay gold leaf, but to build and prepare the rigid supports needed for this type of technique. Recipes for the making of size, gesso, and bole that dated back to the Renaissance were studied and carefully carried out. The result was a beautiful technique that made the artwork it was applied to radiant. In this era of technology, the art market is heavily flooded and competition can be fierce. The study of gold gilding and its use not only sets an artist’s work apart as unique, it also preserves a process that has changed very little for several centuries.

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Renaissance Gold Gilding

Gold leaf was once used extensively in paintings by master artists and was highly prized to the point of often being reserved for religious works. Today it has mostly been relegated to decorative uses, framing, and in the creation of icons. Because of its rarity in the fine art world, the skilled application of this technique could be an invaluable addition to an artist’s repertoire. The purpose of this project was to study the various methods of gold gilding that have been used from antiquity to modern times and to gain an understanding of the techniques and materials used. The final goal was to use this research in creating an artwork that makes extensive use of gold gilding and to document the process, necessary experimentation, and the results thereof. The methodology of this project centered around using both modern and Renaissance texts to not only successfully lay gold leaf, but to build and prepare the rigid supports needed for this type of technique. Recipes for the making of size, gesso, and bole that dated back to the Renaissance were studied and carefully carried out. The result was a beautiful technique that made the artwork it was applied to radiant. In this era of technology, the art market is heavily flooded and competition can be fierce. The study of gold gilding and its use not only sets an artist’s work apart as unique, it also preserves a process that has changed very little for several centuries.