Theory for the Formation of Micro-cissing

This magnified view of the background along the right edge of Mr. James' face shows another example of micro-cissing. The phenomenon probably came from the paint formula used by a London colourman during Hogarth's time. According to this theory, an excessive amount of drier (something added to oil paint to accelerate drying) was added to the paint, causing the upper paint layer to dry more quickly than the underlying layers. The upper layer was pulled into small islands while drying, revealing the underlying layer. Driers such as lead acetate have been used with varying degrees of success in paintings over centuries to speed the polymerization and oxidation processes involved in the drying of oil paint.

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