Gilded gilding gilting

DEFINITION

Referencing surfaces covered with gold or metal leaf, the process creates the appearance of solid or inlaid gold or metal. The word "Gilding" is derived from the word Gold, but the term in recent times has come to reference metals as well as gold. The gilded leaf is used in painting and sculpture and often for decorative affects. Gilding can be applied either to a tacky base that has been sized with glue, gesso or thick oil varnish and then burnished, or it can be glued to any un-sized surface but then cannot be burnished. The method of Gilding dates back to the ancient Egyptians and Chinese, to Old Testament Biblical figures and Ancient Greeks. In the Middle Ages, Gilding was used for manuscript illumination, lettering and for backgrounds of paintings. It reached its most popular time in Europe and America during the Victorian Era of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries when ornate decoration was very popular. Sources: Ralph Mayer, "A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques"; Kimberley Reynolds & Richard Seddon, "Illustrated Dictionary of Art Terms"

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