Technique and condition

“The Death of Daniele Casanova” is an oil sketch painted on linen canvas.

The canvas was primed and prepared commercially. The linen is a plain 1 x 1, closed weave. It was prepared with off-white, oil-based primer and then cut and stretched over the wooden strainer using canvas pliers. The priming layer evenly coats the threads and interstices, providing a smooth and continuous surface for the paint.

The image is painted in polychrome oil paint. The consistency varies from thick paste through to thinned layers. The paint covers the entire surface of the canvas, except for a few small areas where the priming is exposed. The paint was applied with brush and the texture is generally smooth. There appears to be graphite underdrawing which will be further studied using the Tate digital infrared system.

Paint was applied in a quick, loose application but very precisely done (staying within the lines). The result is a detailed sketch in which the figures and drapery have been loosely but fully modelled using several paint colours.

A natural resin varnish was applied to the surface somewhat unevenly, as there are a few drips. It has yellowed slightly but is still in good condition, leaving the surface with a satin-gloss finish.

The painting is in very good condition. It arrived at Tate with a damaged black strip frame which was replaced with a more substantial, dark grey, L-section frame.

Patricia Smithen