Fall of Gog and Magog, detail

Materials analysis

Using FTIR analysis, conservation scientists at the Straus Center identified the coating layer as a type of starch paste, a combination of carbohydrates and other minor components. Cross-sections showed that the coating was the final layer applied to the murals, except where Sargent added a few finishing touches of paint on top of it. Those touches of paint confirm that Sargent himself had applied the paste-like coating.
Fall of Gog and Magog, detail of finishing paint strokes on top of the coating; note how these pink strokes are not discolored by the coating, in contrast to adjacent areas (2003 photo)
The Triumph of Religion