The finished state of a painting often consists of more than a single layer of paint. The image may evolve through a process of revisions to the initial subject or may be painted over an unrelated image. Some of the unique characteristics of pigments allow us to appreciate the image in visible light, while other characteristics allow us to see the underlayers and therefore to gain an understanding of the process employed in making the painting. Some of the processes described in this chapter (infrared reflectography and x-radiography) are commonly used by conservators, curators, and art historians to study the material composition of paintings and the working methods employed by artists.
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