After the facial features and fingers were painted in dark ink onto the gesso, an underlayer of a pale grey-green was applied. This underlayer was used invariably in egg tempera flesh painting and varied from a strong green (as seen in Simone Martini’s 'Christ Discovered in the Temple'of 1342) to the much paler colour used in this painting.
The warm pink of the flesh is usually a mixture of lead white, vermilion, organic red and ochres with more white added for the highlights. The flesh paint is applied in quick, free strokes with much of the grey-green underlayer exposed to create cool mid-tones.
Detail of Mary’s face from Simone Martini’s 'Christ Discovered in the Temple'