The Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques

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The Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques
The Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques.jpg
1971 edition
AuthorRalph Mayer
CountryUnited States
SubjectArtistic media, Painting
Published1940 (Viking)

The Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques is a reference book by Ralph Mayer (1895–1979).[1] Intended by the author for use by professional artists, it deals mostly with the chemical and physical properties of traditional painterly materials such as oil, tempera, and encaustic, as well as solvents, varnishes, and painting mediums. It also has extensive coverage of ancillary activities such as stretching and preparing canvas, care and maintenance of tools, and conservation of older paintings.

Originally published in 1940, the Handbook was referred to as "the painter's bible" at the time,[citation needed] and it continues to have a place on the reading list in American universities to this day.[2] It underwent three extensive revisions in Mayer's lifetime, and the fifth posthumous edition is still in print.

Ralph Mayer’s archives of writing and research on materials and techniques are now at the Ralph Mayer Learning Center, Yale University School of Art.[3]


  1. ^ "Ralph Mayer". Faber & Faber. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  2. ^ Pavelka, Karen. "Required readings, Technology and structure of records materials". Preservation and Conservation Studies. University of Texas at Austin. Archived from the original on 2005-03-04. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  3. ^ Yale University Bulletin, School of Art 2011-2012