In art, craquelure is the fine pattern of cracks formed on old paintings. It is sometimes used to detect forged art, as craquelure is a hard-to-forge signature of authenticity.
The precise pattern of craquelure depends upon where the picture was painted. There appear to be distinct French, Italian and Dutch "styles" of craquelure.
Craquelure can furnish a record of the environmental conditions the painting has experienced during its lifetime, and also can reveal details about the painting's history of handling, transportation, and restoration.