Craquelure: Background information when reading Asunder

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Asunder

by Chloe Aridjis

Asunder
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  • Paperback:
    Sep 2013, 208 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte

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Beyond the Book:
Craquelure

As Chloe Aridjis explains in Asunder, a painting too must obey the laws of physics - in that it slowly - ever so slowly - descends from "order" (the finished painting) into disorder. This "disorder" is brought about by a series of cracks in the paint or varnish that forms a network over time. This network is called craquelure (pronounced crack-lure). The cracks are formed as result of drying forces, responses to humidity and a number of other environmental factors. As time goes on, paint dries and undergoes shrinkage which, in turn, creates cracks. The pressure on these paintings is higher at the edges than it is in the center, which means cracks are more pronounced at the edges of a painting. Even the human touch can set off a series of invisible cracks.

Mona LisaSince craquelure is a function of the kind of paint used (oil, watercolor, acrylic); the medium it is painted on and the thickness of the various layers, the network of cracks is more noticeable for certain kinds than others. For ...

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