The Primer of Claude of France

Green mixtures

Artists' Materials

Most contain one or more blue components (azurite and/or indigo) in addition to lead-tin yellow, orpiment or massicot. Coarse yellow particles are often visible in these areas under magnification, usually either within a dark blue indigo matrix or alongside bright blue azurite particles.

The green branches and leaves which decorate the border panels and line-fillers and surround the red and blue initials contain instead a mineral copper green, probably malachite, and lead-tin yellow. The latter is mixed with an organic green colourant in the light green tiaras worn by God the Father in some scenes and in the lozenges painted over the columns on fol. 3r.

Lightbox: 83
Detail of Adam’s brown skirt under magnification (7.5x). In the early modern period, Adam’s naked torso was covered with this skirt, painted with one or more organic colourants.
Lightbox: 73
The ‘virtual restoration’ process was based on a digital colour photograph and an infrared image of the overpainted details. The infrared image (above, left) revealed the original appearance of the area beneath the later additions. The part to be ‘restored’ was marked and used as a boundary to solve a partial differential equation that is guided by the local structure encoded in the infrared image and extracted in a false-colour image (above, right). This process, called osmosis filtering, resulted in the ‘restored’ image on the bottom left. Non-local image features, such as textures and patterns, were restored in a second step using a ‘copy & paste’ technique, which resulted in the image on the bottom right. The reconstructed details were then integrated into the scene, as shown in the ‘Virtual restoration’ layer.
Lightbox: 86
Detail of one of the misspelled captions under magnification (7.5x). It mistakenly reads ADEM ET VEE rather than ADAM ET EVE.
Lightbox: 74
The grass below the feet of God the Father was painted with a complex mixture containing indigo and azurite, both identified by reflectance spectroscopy thanks to the typical absorptions at 660, 1491, 2283 and 2350 nm (above). XRF analysis reveals the additional presence of lead-tin yellow (Pb and Sn in the spectrum below).

At the request of a post-medieval owner who was offended by their nudity, the images of Adam and Eve on this page were overpainted to conceal the couple’s nakedness; Eve acquired a veil and Adam a skirt (hotspot 1). Using virtual ‘image restoration’ based on Partial Differential Equations (PDEs), it has been possible to create mathematical reconstructions of the scenes and to digitally ‘restore’ the figures to their original state (hotspot 2 and ‘Virtual restoration’ layer).

This is one of the pages where the artist used the unusual pigment known as ‘artificial orpiment’, mixed with lead-tin yellow in feathers of the bird in the upper border.