E-book: Encaustic Wood Painting

How to make an Encaustic Wood Painting based on Clues gathered from Classical Sources: Proposals for the Philological Reconstruction of the Ancient Technique.

Translated by Jason Cardone.

Original title: Encausto sul legno Come realizzare un dipinto ad encausto sul legno seguendo gli indizi delle fonti classiche: proposte per la ricostruzione filologica della tecnica antica.

Modern philological reconstruction of a famous portrait from Fayyum



In this e-book you will find the answers to the following questions:

How exactly did the ancients “do” encaustic? Are all the waxes to prepare it good? We are really sure that the beautiful polish of encaustic painting depended only on the wax or… was there more? Which chemical elements and consequently which “ingredients” have been traced, discovered (and published here) by the XRF analysis on some finds from the Egyptian Museums of Turin and Florence? How were the ancient Roman warships described by Pliny the Elder really painted? How was made the pictorial mixture of the famous Fayyum Portraits of the Hellenistic-Roman period and subsequently of the first and oldest icons of Christianity? What was the cestrum?
According to Pliny, which colors go well with the encaustic technique and which ones don’t? What is left of the encaustic invented by the ancients in the treatises and artistic practices of the Middle Ages and subsequent centuries? What “modern” or similar artistic techniques have resulted from it? How can Punic wax be prepared “at home”? These and other questions have been clarified, demonstrated and presented here for the first time also with color photographs and with many details in footnote. For this purpose, accurate cross-analyses of various types have been carried out: I) the revision of the translations of the classical literary sources describing the encaustic; II) the reflectographic analyzes carried out on the Fayyum paintings, which made it possible to identify some hitherto unknown and decisive elements for tracing back to the true original technique; III) the information found in the ancient treatises and still practiced in the artisan workshop; IV) the perfect knowledge of the specific characteristics of the pictorial materials used in ancient times.

This book is written in simple language, is accompanied by 101 color photos that flank and demonstrate the practical reconstruction of the original ancient painting technique. The aim is to allow anyone to remake and use the same tools and the same “ingredients” (binders, fillers, pigments) indentified by XRF analyses performed specifically on the finds of prestigious museums.


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