by Rossella Lorenzi
Sticky cheese might be the secret behind one of the most intriguing Mannerist paintings, according to a preliminary investigation carried out during restoration work. Restorers had wondered what holds together the five poplar wood planks which make up "Visitation," an enigmatic work by the 16th-century Mannerist Jacopo Pontormo.
"We believe they were pieced together with a caseine-based glue," restorer Daniele Rossi told Discovery News. Caseine is a group of proteins commonly found in mammalian milk. "Cheese glue was very popular at that time, and was normally used to join wood planks. We are going to carry out special chemical analyses for bindings to get a definitive answer," Rossi said.