Casemate is proud to share that Condition: The Ageing of Art by Paul Taylor (published by Paul Hoberton, available from Casemate) has been named Best Art Book 2015 by the Evening Standard (12/24/2015).
Condition: The Ageing of Art by Paul Taylor (Paul Holberton, £30)
This engrossing paperback will teach you never to look at an Old Master painting in the same way again. Time leaves its marks on the works of art that have come down to us: pigments and varnish change their properties, paint cracks, but it is human intervention that causes irrevocable change.
Paul Taylor is an expert’s expert, based in the Warburg Institute amid thousands of historic photographs of the world’s most famous works of art. In clear non-specialist language he explains how a forest landscape by Jacob van Ruisdael in the National Gallery was turned dark — and darker than any of his comparable works — ever since restorers removed its white highlights and reflections, and why those who did so were wrong to believe that they were additions by another hand.
Not every outcome is so dire: happily, Hans Holbein’s great double portrait The Ambassadors is in a much better state after its most recent restoration and retouching — looking very much as it did in Holbein’s lifetime — than before.