Ground and painted layers


After carving a sculpture, the wood was first carefully sized with glue to ensure the layers were properly stuck to each other. The glue was produced from burning animal bones and skins. Then a ground of chalk or gypsum was applied which was brushed on to the surface and after drying it out it was polished. Brick dust, smashed pumice, sandy leather, fish-skin, cuttlebone flour, dried herbs, as well as carving tools and scrapers, were used in the polishing process.

(Workshop of Jakob Kaschauer or Workshop of Hans Multscher: Bust of a Female Saint, inv. no.: 7176)


Painted layers

Colours were applied after carefully grounding the surface. Different shades were built up from differently coloured layers. In the Middle Ages the most frequently used pigments were azurite, ultramarine, terre verte, malachite, cinnabar, red lead, red ochre and lead-tin yellow.

(Workshop of Leinhart Astl: Lamentation over the Dead Christ, inv. no.: 52.968)