The Cartoon Transfer Process Revealed

How did the great masters of the Renaissance paint their masterpieces with such confidence? With the advent of modern-day conservation tools such as infrared technology, the mysteries that lie beneath the surface of precious artworks are illuminated.

A number of Renaissance artists relied on preparatory drawings, known as cartoons, to guide their paintings, tapestries and frescoes. More substantial than the usual underdrawing, the cartoon transfer process allowed for free-form experimentation until a satisfactory, full-scale trace guide emerged. These drawing guides could be saved and reused—similar to an old-fashioned carbon copy.

This insightful vignette by The J. Paul Getty Museum explores the ingenious cartoon transfer process in more detail. You can view the video here.


About the Author:

Illyana Saunderson has been with Gallery Systems for over 10 years; as Marketing Communications Specialist she organizes Collective Imagination, Gallery Systems’ Users Conference, and contributes to various web and communication projects. When she’s not working on case studies, designing ads, or reviewing metrics, you can find her photographing her latest kitchen creations for her blog, crafting, or prancing around a dance studio.