Came across this word in an episode of The Verb broadcast on April 26th 2019 and still hadn’t quite got the meaning by the end so had to look it up.


Suddenly then thought there might be a case for palimpsestic art – painting over old prints from boot sales but without quite obscuring the original.

Suddenly also discovered that my made up word, palimpsestic, actually exists and that I’m well behind the curve with regard to palimpsestic art!

palimpsest art

This is from Artopium, accessed 2nd May 2019.

I think in my mind I was seeing an old image, maybe even the artist’s own, deliberately obscured with, for instance, gesso and then deliberately partially revealed using abrasive techniques to allow the first image to leak into the second. A bit like seeing one’s own reflection in a window superimposed on the image through the glass. Focusing on one tends to obscure the other so there’s a switch of attention between the two. It feels like an interesting possibility.

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