Confusion of Terms, Megilp is not Maroger

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7 thoughts on “Confusion of Terms, Megilp is not Maroger

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  1. For what it’s worth…I’ve also conducted extensive research and discovered that the proponderance of 16-17th century painter used primarily linseed oil. The Rembrandt paintings at the London National Gallery, for example, have linseed oil as its main constituent with some instances of walnut oil and limited use of alkyd resin (estimated to be touch up at later dates). Though the author here does not appear to name your varnish, there have been well documented problems reported re: mastic varnish products (I believe this is a constituent of Maroger and Megilp). For these reasons and as these products thin only with turpentine, I prefer to use linseed stand oil with an an alkyd and less toxic gamsol thinner. Though I have not achieved every desired result, so far seems satisfactory.

    1. Thank you for your comment Jeff,
      There is the famous dictum in archeology that in applicable also in this case: “Just because something hasn’t been found doesn’t mean that it didn’t exist.” Restorers are very modish and recently they have fixated on technology. Their chemical analysis of paint films have been invaluable but far from comprehensive. However there are numerous first person sources that cite the use of heat bodied drying oils and the use of varnishes. Were they just lying?

      Mediums, when used properly, only adjust the handling properties of paint. They are ultimately a minor component of the paint film. Both Maroger and Megilp use mastic resin. It is recorded by a first person source that Rubens and his school used mastic varnish. Van Dyck preferred Strausbourg turpentine(another type of resin). When making a resin varnish the majority component is turpentine. There is very little actual resin. That fact combined with a sparing use of medium would make it difficult to find in a paint film.
      It should be added that there were no fixed recipes. The Old Masters would adjust their materials to the specific projects and use. This makes sense since all the materials were prepared in-house. It was the age of the colourman in the 18th century and the collapse of the bottega that brought on the technical decline of oil painting.
      Another thing, using a medium like megilp with average store bought tube paints on a store bought canvas just does not work. That is if you want to produce effects like those of past painters.
      But in the end, your medium should complement your sensibility and personal approach to paint handling. If stand oil and liquin works for you that is great. Good painting.

  2. Thanks J.

    Thank you. I have heard of the Shuler School. It makes sense since Jacque Maroger taught extensively at the Md Institute. The longevity of synthetic resins like Liquin is still questionable and unknown. Incompatible substances over the long haul don’t weather well. I am personally wary of synthetics in oil paint. However there are plenty of painters that swear by it. You can get the same properties(drying times etc.) and so much more with natural materials. But I am a purist in that sense.

  3. Hello Matthew,
    Oh what an appetising conversation! Thank you so much for sharing your skills and wisdom. It’s been a while for me (I’ve squeezed in a whole other profession) since I spent serious time dedicated to my mediums. Reading your description makes one want drop what their doing to get mixing! Thank you again for sharing your practice.
    Your work is beautiful.

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