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Battle of the Nudes

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Discover the Battle of the Nudes
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Antique Laid Paper (and a brief description of papermaking and paper moulds) - The type of paper produced in Western Europe until roughly the middle of the 18th century is referred to as antique laid, or laid and chain or simply, laid. Paper type relates directly to the paper mould that was in use at this time. Early Western European paper was handmade on a rigid mould consisting of a rectangular wooden frame with a fixed wire cover. The cover was made from drawn copper wire. Closely spaced "laid" wires that ran parallel to the long, horizontal side of the mould were woven/tied to vertically oriented, shorter chain wires. Chain wires were more widely spaced at fairly regular intervals and provided rigidity and stability to the laid wires. On the underside of the mould cover, oriented parallel to the chain wires and short side of the mould, were wooden ribs. The wooden ribs also lent rigidity and support to the mould cover, and their placement and spacing generally matched that of the chain wires. Wires shaped into various designs and symbols could be sewn or tied to the wire cover to impart a watermark in the final sheet. The final basic component of the rigid mould was a removable wooden collar called a deckle. This was carefully constructed to fit snugly around the top of the mould, covering approximately 2 cm on all four sides. The purpose of the deckle was to prevent the wet paper pulp from running off the edges of the mould cover. Apparently, in order to do the intended job, the deckle had to be manufactured with more skill and precision than the mould itself!

The raw material for making paper was rags, old discarded clothing, and miscellaneous textiles made from linen and hemp primarily. Rags were first sorted, then retted (a fermenting and soaking process) and finally beaten into a homogeneous pulp. The pulp was dispersed in vats of water to form a loose slurry of well-hydrated fibers (called stuff). The wooden mould with the deckle firmly in place was grasped along the short sides of the mold and drawn through the stuff with the ribs parallel to the dipping motion. A sheet could not be formed with the mold held in the opposite orientation, i.e., along the long sides of the mold. By means of a precise method of dipping and agitation and controlled draining, the pulp settled on the mold to form a smooth and cohesive layer of felted fibers that conformed to the underlying wire cover. As the water drained, the soft pulp settled to leave a thicker deposition of fibers between the wires than on top of the wires. When the sheet had drained sufficiently, the deckle was removed and the formed sheet was transferred to a felted or woven fabric (woolen blanket) by rocking the mold from one side to the other while applying firm and even pressure--this process was called couching. The mold's wire cover and the couching felt imparted distinct surface textures to the final sheet of paper. The wire impression left in the soft wet pulp upon sheet formation and reinforced during couching, produced an embossed texture on the "wire side" of the sheet, and the subtle fibrous texture of the couching felt was impressed on the opposite side, the "felt side." These respective surface textures generally persisted through the remaining pressing and drying stages of the papermaking process to be distinguishable in the final sheet.

In hand and machine-made paper the mold cover (or woven wire screen in the case of machine-made paper) essentially becomes cast in the pulp so that when the final sheet is held up to the light all the details of the mold cover are revealed. The most obvious feature of the laid and chain mold is the paper's fine ribbed pattern of alternating translucent and dense lines called laid lines and chain lines. This is called the sheet's lookthrough or internal structure. [Bibliography: Loeber, Hunter]
Illustration of the paper mould came from Paper mould and Mouldmaker, by E.G. Loeber, Amsterdam Paper Publications Society (Labarre Foundation) 1982. Plate 26
Black printing ink - A semi-fluid ink containing a black pigment and an oil-based binding medium. The basic recipe includes one or a combination of carbon black pigments such as vine black, lampblack, ivory or bone black and a drying oil such as cooked linseed oil. Additional additives include resins (or varnish), drying and non-drying agents.
Collotype - A photomechanical process primarily used for reproducing watercolors, drawings and prints. Like lithography, collotype is a planographic process. Planographic prints are obtained from a flat surface and the resulting impression also has no variation in depth. Invented in 1855 and in full commercial use by 1870, collotype remained a widely used process for fine printing until recent years when it was supplanted by screen-less lithography and aquatint photogravure - more commercially viable processes. Today collotype reproductions are made by only a handful of specialty firms.

Like in lithography, the collotype process is based on the fact that water and oil do not mix. Printed impressions are taken from a plate. The plate (typically glass) is first coated with bichromated gelatin then exposed to light through a photographic negative. The sensitized gelatin layer hardens in proportion to the amount of light received - hardened gelatin becomes non-absorbent, whereas non-exposed areas will remain soft and receptive to water. For printing, the exposed plate is first moistened so that the soft, non-exposed areas of gelatin absorb water. When printing ink is applied, it adheres to the gelatin in inverse proportion to the amount of moisture retained on the surface. With this process a full range of mid-tones is possible; the dry areas accept the most ink and print darkest, and the wettest areas hold no ink and yield highlights.

The reticulation or wrinkling of the gelatin as it dries on the plate produces the characteristic grain of the collotype print -- this texture is sometimes compared to the texture of orange peel.
Copperplate - Copper was and still is the preferred and far more common metal for making plates for engraving. Copper offers the right amount of hardness and density combined with pliancy and resilience for cutting to produce numerous textures and for holding up under the wear and tear of printing under pressure. Prints made from copper plates are sometimes called copperplate prints. Planishing refers to the process of hammering copper into thin smooth sheets. In the early centuries of printmaking, copper plates were hand-planished.
Drypoint - Like engraving drypoint is an intaglio process that involves direct cutting of the plate with a sharp metal tool - steel or diamond point. In the case of drypoint a needle is used. The needle is handled differently than an engraving burin and produces a different type of line. For example the drypoint line does not swell and taper in the manner of a burin-cut line. As the drypoint-needle scores the plate, a burr of metal is thrown up; it is this burr that gives the drypoint line its characteristic soft velvety appearance. In engraving any metal burr created in the incising process is typically removed. Drypoint also refers to the printed impression.
Engraving - In the context of intaglio printmaking, engraving refers specifically to the process of cutting into a plate with a tool known as a burin or graver. (For more on engraving see bibliography: Hind, Chamberlain, Griffiths, Eichernberg, Landau and Parshall)
Etching - An intaglio process by which the image is corroded into the metal plate by the action of acid. With a traditional line etching, the metal plate is first coated with an acid-resistant ground, then drawn on with a sharp tool to remove areas (lines) of ground and expose the plate. The plate is placed in an acid bath and left until the exposed metal is sufficiently bitten. Finally the ground is removed and the plate is inked and printed in the same manner as an engraving. Etching also refers to the printed impression.
Liechtenstein Stamp - The stamp described and shown here is not recorded in Frits Lugts authoritative catalogue of collectors marks, Les Marques De Collections De Dessins & Destampes, published in three volumes in 1921, 1956 and 1975.

Recent correspondence with Antony Griffiths, Keeper of Prints at the British Museum about this stamp is also revealing. According to Dr. Griffiths, the Liechtenstein prints in the British Museum, of which there are many, do not have this stamp. Moreover, Dr. Griffiths was unaware that such a stamp even existed. This information supports the supposition that only the prints sold in the United States by Zinser were stamped. Additional inquiries need to be made regarding the presence or absence of this stamp on Liechtenstein prints in both European and American collections to corroborate this theory.
Impression - An individual print taken from a worked plate, block or stone, whether intaglio (engraving or etching), relief (woodcut) or planographic (lithograph).
Infrared Reflectography - An analytical method that renders invisible infrared radiation visible to the naked eye. More specifically, infrared reflectography is a photographic or digital imaging technique that uses a specially designed heat-sensitive film or detector to capture absorption and emission characteristics of reflected, infrared radiation. Some materials that are opaque to visible light are transparent to infrared radiation. When an object is illuminated with natural or incandescent light, infrared radiation will not only interact with the surface but will also penetrate and interact with underlying layers so that things below as well as on the surface can be imaged.

Conservators and art historians have used infrared reflectography to study works of art since the 1960s. The technique has seen its greatest application in the study of paint layers and underdrawings in paintings. Since the absorption, transmission and reflection of IR radiation varies for different materials (i.e., pigments), the resulting images can provide information about an artist's working methods and materials used in a painting or underdrawing.

The Infrared spectrum can be divided into near, middle and far IR; the boundaries between these regions are not precisely agreed upon. The near Infrared spectral range is that portion of the electromagnetic spectrum (roughly) between .7 (just beyond the red of the visible spectrum) and 5 microns. A micron is a unit used to measure wavelength; 1 micron equals one millionth of a meter.

Typically, for examining works of art, IR reflectography has used that part of the near IR range between .7 to 2.5 microns; this is also known as the non-heat portion of the IR spectrum.

Thermal IR, the middle or heat range of the IR spectrum, uses longer wavelengths of IR radiation; the range of thermal IR utilized in this application is 3.0 to 5.0 microns. Like near infrared reflectography, thermal infrared imaging (thermography) requires a specialized camera with heat sensitivity extending farther into the infrared range. For this project a Mitsubishi Thermal Imager was used along with a special lens called a germanium lens which filters all visible and near IR radiation.

Tungsten-Halogen lights were used to capture the IR reflectograms and thermal images (thermograms). The lights were approximately six feet from the artwork. Intensity was adjusted as needed to even out glare and to be able to record a legible image. It is interesting to note that light intensity had to be reduced for the thermal IR captures, as compared to the near IR reflectograms.
Katharina Mayer Haunton - Katharina Mayer Haunton's father was Gustavus Mayer, initially one of the partners and later the senior director at P & D Colnaghi &Co Ltd. Mr. Mayer died in 1953. Mrs. Haunton joined Colnaghi in 1959 and soon moved to the print department; she was a director at Colnaghi's from 1971 to 1981.
Matrix - Refers to the block, stone, plate, stencil or other surface from which an imprint/design is taken.
Modified Raking Light - In order to best document the subtle planar and textural variations caused by the historic restorations in this print, a modified raking light technique was employed. This technique was developed by the CMA photographers particularly for documenting works of art on paper.

With raking light photography a single light source is placed at a very low angle on one side of the object (by convention to the left of or above the object) so that light “rakes” across the surface and shows up the object's textural and planar variations. The degree of planar and textural definition can be varied of course by varying the position of the light, both the angle and distance relative to the object. This type of lighting inherently produces an image with uneven brightness: it is brighter on the side nearer the light source and darker on the far side; at either extreme, definition tends to be lost. The degree of unevenness can be moderate to pronounced, depending on various parameters of lighting and staging, but will always be present to some extent unless modified.

To achieve the uniform illumination, as seen in the modified raking light images included in this paper, a diffusion screen (in this case a Mathews 24X36 inch U-shaped frame with triple black-mesh scrim) is placed between the light source and object. This scrim partially blocks the light reaching the near side of the object but allows for the light to spill over the top and reach the far side of the object unencumbered. The placement of the scrim is arranged to achieve a soft, feathered edge in the light beam, which yields an area of very even, yet highly directional, illumination. The camera is then positioned directly over, or in front of this uniform area. In the case of a large object, such as the Pollaiuolo engraving the object is photographed in sections (in this case three) and reassembled digitally. By employing the modified raking light and not moving the camera or lighting, but instead moving the object within the lighting stage so that each section is photographed in the same position relative to the light source, a perfectly illuminated image of exceptionally high resolution can be achieved.
P & D Colnaghi of London - A large and distinguished art dealing firm, established 1760.
Raking light - Light coming from one side and glancing across the surface of the sheet at a low angle. Raking light shows up subtle surface variations (primarily texture, gloss and planar irregularities) and is a valuable tool for deciphering artists' technique and materials as well as condition and old repairs.
Restoration - The process of returning something to its original condition or undamaged state. In the case of paper conservation, it usually denotes a range of activities, from cleaning to tear repair, all aimed at improving the appearance of a damaged print or drawing. (Bibliography: Kosek)
Return Stroke - “Return stroke” is also a more broadly applied term referring to the back and forth zigzag line commonly seen in drawings and certain printmaking techniques. It is important to appreciate that when handling a drawing implement such as pencil or pen, or a printmaking tool such as a drypoint needle or etching needle, the tool can be moved freely in every direction and produce a truly continuous zigzag line. When engraving, the hand cannot move freely in every direction and typically the burin (or gravure) is only pushed in one direction; change in direction is accomplished by turning or shifting the plate with the other hand.
Richard Zinser - (b.Stuttgart, Germany 1885, d. New York, USA 1983/4) Print collector and court jeweler to Prince Maximilian von Waldburg of Weurttemberg. Zinser immigrated to New York in the late 1930s where he became a private art dealer with a specialization in prints.
State - Any impression that shows changes as evidence of intentional modification to the plate constitutes a different state. State changes can be made at any time during the life of the plate.
Transmitted light - Light passing through the sheet from behind reveals information about paper structure, formation and sheet density; this light can also reveal condition problems and restorations.
Watermark - Traditional watermarks (also called wire-marks, line-marks or wire-profiles) are made by sewing or tying fine metal wires to the wire cover of a paper mould in the shape of specific designs. As the sheet is formed less paper pulp is deposited on the raised wires. Thus in the fully formed sheet, the paper is thinner and more translucent in the area of the wire design, and this pattern is visible when illuminated from behind.

The origin of the watermark is uncertain. Initially watermarks may have been used to indicate information such as sheet size and the quality of the batch of paper. Early on watermarks evolved into the papermaker's personal trademark or, more often, a symbol that designated a specific paper mill. There are several categories of watermarks: simple designs such as crosses and circles, and more complex designs including human symbols, vegetation and animals.

The study of watermarks is called filigranology. Watermarks can sometimes yield valuable information about the date or origin for a work of art on paper. Numerous watermark catalogues with reproduced drawings of watermarks exist to facilitate this type of research. The most famous watermark dictionary, C. M. Briquet, Les Filigranes, published in four volumes in Geneva in 1907, documents watermarks up to 1600. Dates are assigned to watermarks on the basis of exact correspondence with watermarks in dated documents. Watermark reference books are widely referred to by paper historians and print and drawing specialists. However the various ways in which paper moved among different countries and the uncertain interval between manufacture and use necessitates qualification and caution when assigning dates and origins to works of art based on watermark evidence. For example, an identified/known watermark on a print only tells us with certainty that it could not have been made before the date of the watermark. (And even this needs qualification since there are extremely sophisticated ways to fake watermarks often for the purpose of making a work of art appear to be something that it is not!) The ability to group impressions and establish chronology among different impressions of the same print according to watermark evidence is proving to be of great value to print historians. (Bibliography: see Hind and Griffiths)

To appreciate how difficult it is to identify a particular watermark in a pre-1600 paper here are some numbers: Briquet collected some 60,000 watermarks of an estimated 250,000 already in existence prior to 1600. Of these 60,000 he published approximately 16,000. From these numbers researchers have calculated that the odds are no more than 5 percent at finding an identical match of a particular watermark using a facsimile recorded in Briquet. (Bibliography: Mosser)
Image of watermark picture came from Papermaking the History and Technique of an Ancient Craft. by Dard Hunter, Dover Publications, INC. New York 1978, page 263.

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