Assessing Old Master artwork condition. Part II — back of a painting

Essential guide to making right purchasing decisions when buying art online

Looking at the backside

Left — original stretcher bars; right — their edges affected the painting surface from inside
Left — original old (at least 18th-century) canvas attached to new stretchers; center — reinforced edges; right — relined canvas, looking spot-on and kind of “new”
Left — old canvas on original stretchers; right — newly relined canvas on brand new stretchers with keys
Left — the painting seems faultless in the photo; right — you see much more when looking at its back
These wet-looking spots are the varnish that went through the surface and canvas fabric
Various labels and inscriptions could lead to remarkable discoveries

My name is Marina Viatkina and I am an art history writer and collecting advisor. You may read my other art-related articles, watch videos or reach out to discuss this blog and address your art enquiries here or on my website



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Marina Viatkina

Art | History Writer & Collecting Advisor → | Founder of Smart Art — Art History Escape app →