Skip to Content

Art Gallery of Ontario

Keyword Site Search

Conservation Glossary

Gesso - Traditionally, a lean layer of size and chalk to form a ground on which to paint.

Ground - A layer of opaque paint applied to a support to provide a suitable color and texture on which to draw or paint.

Inpainting - Paint applied over losses only. This is a technique commonly used by conservators to unify a painting that has suffered paint loss.

Microenvironment - The environment of a very small, specific area.

Overpaint - This paint was not applied by the artist but applied at a later date. It not only covers the original paint, but its presence often indicates an excessive alteration of the image. Overpainting is not an acceptable conservation technique.

Retouching - The work done by a restorer to replace areas of loss or damage in a painting.

Varnish - An applied surface film, usually of a transparent, cloudless resin. It imparts an even gloss to the surface, wetting the paint, and providing protection for it.


American Express is the Signature Partner of the Conservation Collection Program

Share and Enjoy: