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(Art Terms) a network of fine cracks on old paintings caused by the deterioration of pigment or varnish
[C20: from French, from craqueler to crackle, from craquer to crack, of imitative origin]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(krækˈlʊər, ˈkræk lʊər)

a network of fine cracks or crackles on the surface of a painting caused chiefly by shrinkage of paint film or varnish.
[1910–15; < French, <craquel(er) to crackle, crack]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Craquelure kingfisher tiles, PS34.95, Walls and Floors Ltd
The connection between Brazilian and Chinese cultures established through historical trading routes underpins a great deal of Varejao's work, both figuratively and in her use of craquelure.
This unique frame, that has various structural and surface losses, is painted to mimic a craquelure surface and is essential to understanding the trompe l'oeil element in the painting which extends onto the face of the inner frame.
A fine craquelure effect further underscores the antique nature of the design.
What is 'craquelure', often found on old paintings?
Some of them have as much craquelure as something from the 15th century.
and thanks to unsealed product feels ail the white and true that until then remained covered by the craquelure of his outward self
Is this because the artworks--some stenciled on wood achieving an instant craquelure, others on collaged newsprint, yet others on discontinued wallpaper--look prematurely aged, giving an appearance of venerable deterioration to their contemporary substance?
And surely, for the third world, the intense contortions of form, the acid colors, the agitated surface and the heavy impasto of the van Gogh painting--not to mention the various signs of its age (the craquelure of the dried paint, for example) indicating its endurance and survival into the present--these must be the painting-work's analogue of the "glow of the stone" and "power of the storm" that Heidegger finds revealed in the natural/ontological world of the temple-work.
And lastly, there were the transparent glazes, colourless or hued for vitreous, maiolica or craquelure effects.
In her installation Wandering Hands (1999), Klix spread clay slip in the vivid red of Central Australian earth across the floor of Object Gallery, Sydney, allowing it to dry in its own time, to split and peel like the craquelure of a dry season flood plain.
Levinson, for instance, notes that the English researcher Spike Bucklow "has been able to associate craquelure patterns with different eras of art history." The problem is that, based on these studies, Bucklow has just recently released a full-dress paper conclusively confirming as genuine a supposedly fourteenth-century Sienese painted wedding casket.