• A network of fine cracks in the paint or varnish of a painting.

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Example Sentences

“The painting’s craquelure helped the preservationists to estimate its age.”

“Some of the fissures in the canvas were a result of a natural craquelure, but others were from water damage.”

“The light craquelure on the painting added to the romantic look I was aiming for with the dining room decor.”

Word Origin

French, early 20th century

Why this word?

Watch an episode of “Antiques Roadshow” and you’ll likely hear “craquelure” mentioned by the art appraisers. This French term describes the pattern of fine cracks seen in the paint or varnish on a piece of art. The specific type of pattern can help pinpoint the exact age, type of paint used, and other factors about the piece. These clues help appraisers determine if what they are examining is a priceless masterpiece, or a reproduction found in someone’s attic.

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Learn a new word Demiurge