Systems of transferring the drawing – Tracing

Tracing has been one of the most popular techniques to transfer a drawing to a new support without changing the scale.

Already used in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth-Century workshops, the tracing system is well attested throughout the Renaissance with methods similar to those that today regulate the use of carbon paper. The technique involved blackening more or less homogeneously the side of the sheet on which the drawing to be transferred was made using coal dust.

The design was then placed on the new support and sometimes fixed temporarily to prevent it from sliding. At this point, the contours of the drawing were retraced with a stylus so that a dark trace could be deposited on the new support following the pressure lines.

After tracing, as usual, the engravings delimiting the gilding and the main architectural elements were made, the painter reinforced the drawing in charcoal with a brush soaked with ink diluted in aqueous binder or with carbon black in egg tempera.