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pentimento

pentimento (pĕnˌtəmĕnˈtō) [key], painter's term for the evidence in a work that the original composition has been changed. Often the opaque pigment with which the artist covered a mistake or unwanted beginnings will, with time or injudicious cleaning, become transparent, and a revelation of original intentions will become visible through the finished composition. A celebrated example is Caravaggio's Lute Player (Metropolitan Museum of Art) in which X-ray photography was used to uncover evidence of the painter's original intention.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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