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Detail of faces from the painting, with warm pink cheeks and some of the grey-green underlayer around the mouths

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 face with green underlayer showing through the flesh tones

Detail of Mary’s face from Simone Martini’s 'Christ Discovered in the Temple'