Official Nebraska Government Website Nebraska State Historical Society

 Saving your treasures


Paintings can be made from a range of materials including frescos on plaster walls, egg tempera on a wooden panel, and oil or acrylic paint on canvas. A painting's support, the nature of the paint, and the artist's use of methods and materials all determine the condition and potential longevity of a painting.

"Easel" paintings are supported by wooden or fiberboard panel or a fabric (linen/cotton) stretched on an expandable wooden frame (stretcher) or fixed frame (strainer). The canvas is then covered with a thin layer of animal glue or acrylic emulsion as a sizing layer. The coating (size) prevents the fabric from absorbing too much liquid and prepares it for the layer of gesso.

The ground layer is typically a smooth, white gesso film
consisting of multiple layers of a mixture of water-based glue and ground chalk. The artist will often complete an under drawing in ink, charcoal, or pencil on the ground layer and then proceed to apply layers of paint.

Paint is made of colorants like ground mineral pigments, mixed with a sticky binding medium such as resin, oil, or egg yolk. Sometimes, a final layer of varnish is applied to protect the surface from moisture, scratches, and grime.

Paintings include:

  • paintings on board
  • paintings on canvas
  • paintings as frames

More Resources (pdf)
Mechanical Reproduction or Artist Original ?


Preservation Principles

Types of Material


Types of Objects
   Books / Bibles / Scrapbooks
   Works of Art
   Textiles / Clothing / Uniforms
   Tools / Mechanical / Instruments
   Dishes / Glassware / Silverware
   Native American Items
   Natural History Specimens

More Resources
   Preservation Documents  (pdfs)
   Glossary of Terms
   See what we've done

Contact Us  (email)

Staff   (directory)

NSHS Home  |  Search  |  Index  |  Top

For questions or comments on the website itself, email
Nebraska State Historical Society - P.O. Box 82554, 1500 R Street, Lincoln, NE 68501
Nebraska State Government Homepage
 |  Website Policies  |  © 2009 All Rights Reserved