http://www.kunsthaus.ch/en/the-collection/conservation/examples-from-the-world-of-art-conservation/technical-analysis/

Kunsthaus Zürich

Ferdinand Hodler

Technical analysis

Support

The support consists of a densely woven linen fabric with a simple plain weave. There are selvages at the top and bottom edges. There are no seams or additions.
The canvas is stretched on a wooden frame with a cross-member. The stretcher is not original.

Structure of the paint layer

Hodler dispensed with a conventional groundlayer and painted directly onto the canvas. He began by locating ‘Truth’ at the exact centre of the picture, then transferred her contours to the canvas using a variety of aids.

The paint was applied partly with a palette knife and partly with a brush. The brushstrokes, splashes of paint and areas where the underlying canvas shows through indicate that he worked quickly.

He accentuated the figures using black, red or blue contour lines. Later corrections carried out by Hodler using Raffaëlli sticks in a pink tone can be seen directly beside Truth and also over older paintlosses in the background.

Pencil lines of a grid on and under the paint layer in the area of the female figure
Pencil lines of a grid on and under the paint layer in the area of the female figure
Application of paint using a brush in the hand of the female figure, and a palette knife in the background
Application of paint using a brush in the hand of the female figure, and a palette knife in the background
Contour lines on the hands of the right-hand figure
Contour lines on the hands of the right-hand figure