Paint layer structure
Cross section of paint sample from the red marble of the architecture in the background of the painting, magnified by 400 times
Paint cross sections show the simple layer structure which is typical of tempera painting. The translucent yellowed layer just visible at the bottom of the sample is the gesso. A thick underlayer of paint provides an opaque 'body' colour of very pale pink and the uppermost layer, often using translucent pigments or glazes, adds depth and intensity to the colour.
Detail of the area of red marble in the painting that the paint sample above was taken from