Craquelure

I came across a new word recently, ‘craquelure’.  It is the fine pattern of dense reticulated cracking formed on the surface of materials, especially paintings, either as part of the process of ageing or of their original production.  Where it’s due to aging, the nature process of decay, it must be the bane of conservators. Not all cracks are the same, however an ageing crack has a broken sharp edge and a drying crack has a smooth rounded edge.  Ironically, it can also be created on purpose.  Apparently you can make the surface of an oil painting crack with the application of a specially designed “crackling” medium – the aging technique involves applying two specially formulated varnish-type coatings.

Photo: Lode, Cambs, March 2018

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