A Lady and Her Two Children

Faded dress. The original, vibrant, pink color of the young girl’s dress has faded, losing some of its opacity. Red lake pigments, such as cochineal (made from a beetle native to South America) and madder (made from the root of the madder plant harvested in Europe) are particularly light sensitive and lose their vibrancy with age and exposure to light.

Creased skin of children. Dark lines visible under the children’s skin give the impression of premature aging. These lines are the charcoal underdrawing applied by the artist before he began painting. Oil paint becomes transparent with age, and because this paint was applied in a thin layer, the underdrawing is especially visible today.