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Painting not a Caravaggio: Vatican

Painting not a Caravaggio: Vatican

Article by Nicole Winfield The Vatican’s top art historian has shot down a report in its own newspaper that suggested a recently discovered painting was a Caravaggio. The head of the Vatican Museums, Antonio Paolucci, wrote in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano that the work was most likely a copy of an original by a Caravaggio-influenced artist. L’Osservatore set the art world aflutter last week with a front-page article headlined A New Caravaggio detailing the artistry behind the Martyrdom of St. Lawrence, which had been discovered in the sacristy of a Jesuit church in Rome. The author of the article, art historian Lydia Salviucci Insolera, had made clear that she was not making any conclusions about the authenticity of the…

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The Oil Painting Technique of Van Eyck

The Oil Painting Technique of Van Eyck

The Oil Painting Technique of Van Eyck With Van Eyck, painting entered a new era. His new technical methods and discovery of a more a pliable medium his colors immediately freed the artist of his time from many of the restraints imposed by the rigidity of the earlier mediums. Transparent glazes of Van Eyck’s oil painting technique allowed all the subtleties of the underlying layers of the painting to show through. This glazing produces the same phenomena as colored glass. A red glass, for instance, does not show the full intensity of its color except by the luminosity of the ground which shows through it. Placed on the earth it will appear dark. Similarly, the quality of the color of…

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The Painting Techniques of the Venetian School Masters

The Painting Techniques of the Venetian School Masters

Venetian Painting Technique The Venetian painting technique was developed from many prior classical painting techniques, and is in effect a culmination of the methods that came before it. The approach to Venetian painting outlined below is a modified version that builds on the Renaissance method, incorporating modern chemicals and a contemporary palette. Venetian painting methods rose to prominence in the 17th century, and were used by painters like Titian, Caravaggio, and Velazquez. The most widespread use of these techniques was witnessed during the Baroque period, and they are ideal for still life painting, portraiture, and compositions that use strong, single-source lighting. The Technique– 1. The first step to creating this type of painting is a basic underdrawing which records the…

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The great oil painting techniques of Old Masters

The great oil painting techniques of Old Masters

Ever since the knowledge of the great oil painting techniques of the Renaissance was so mysteriously lost, about the end of seventeenth century, artists have been trying vainly to rediscover the methods of such masters as Titian, Rubens, Rembrandt and Velasquez, as well as of their predecessors–Jan Van Eyck, Memling, Giovanni Bellini and others, though not allowing for the same facility of execution on a large scale, were nevertheless were nevertheless equally as brilliant and durable.   It has been evident to every artist who has worked in the medium of oil paint for the last two centuries or more, that certain qualities of color and modelling and brilliance of surface which seem to have been the common Possession of earlier…

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The Tempera Technique of Old Masters

The Tempera Technique of Old Masters

Tempera techniques possessed the great advantage of brilliance and permanence, but they were, at the same time, subject to serious difficulties of management which in many ways limited their possibilities. The so-called early primitive paintings executed in these various tempera mediums possessed a charm of their own, undoubtedly due in some measure to these very limitations of technique. The impossibility of achieving realistic effects and of producing the illusion of the third dimension preserved in them the flat decorative quality for which many are much admired. This decorative effect owes much of its power to the juxtaposition of large masses of color and form, similar to the effects obtained in some of the minor arts. One of the tempera artists’…

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Drawing methods of Old Masters

Drawing methods of Old Masters

It is the problem of the draughtsman to represent on a plane – his Paper, the multiple three dimensional appearances of nature, conveying the impression of light, depth and movement, as well as the texture of materials, by the sole means of the gradations and modelling in the greys as they go from the white of his paper to the darkest value of his drawing instrument. In studying the old masters from this point of view we see that it is possible to establish a hierarchy among them. Mediocre draughtsmen simply do the best they can with nature as they see it. Their eye works like a mirror that contains many imperfections. Portraiture is their largest field of activity because,…

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The Lost Painting Techniques of the Old Masters

The Lost Painting Techniques of the Old Masters

Sometime around the end of the seventeenth century, the painting methods so beloved of the old masters were mysteriously lost—how exactly, no one is really sure. Ever since then, artists have tried and fail to rediscover these techniques, which yielded the masterpieces of Titian, Rubens, Rembrandt and Velasquez. The origins of these techniques can be seen as well in the artists that came before them (Jan Van Eyck, Memling, Giovanni Bellini and others) in a more rudimentary form and always on a much smaller scale, being limited by a lack of proper canvas and materials.   For reasons not yet known, something of the inherent magic of oil painting seemed to have dulled after the Renaissance, with a dampening (subtle…

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How to paint like Rembrandt: Oil Painting Glazing Techniques

How to paint like Rembrandt: Oil Painting Glazing Techniques

Rembrandt was so pleased with his innovation of glazing over dried impasto that he expanded the practice to other textures, devising a method that utilized different whites for impasto and smoother passages. His impasto white was very “lean” and had egg as an ingredient (meaning it must have dried quite quickly), ground glass, and also white lead, which was used as a binder. He generally applied it with increasing thickness in several stages, whereafter it was finished with transparent glazes and wiping, creating the lustre and dimension he is so well-known for. No other technique produces the same brilliance as Rembrandt’s. When he painted Lieutenant Ruytenburch’s uniform in “The Night Watch,” Rembrandt used this method to build up the dimensions…

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The Venetian Method: Underpainting

The Venetian Method: Underpainting

The underpainting was a core feature of the Venetian Method, and was often executed in opaque colour, rather than neutral greys. Many colour variations existed on this technique, such as Venetian Red and Flake White, with the only real limitation lying in the fact one ought limit one’s palette to lean paints (paints with a low rate of oil absorption) which are either opaque or very high in tinting strength. High tinting strength paints with a high oil absorption rate (fat paints) may be used only if mixed in minute quantities with very lean paints, so as to keep the underpainting leaner than the layers that will be applied above. Once the colour has dried, it can be modified with…

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The Venetian Method: Glazing and Scumbling

The Venetian Method: Glazing and Scumbling

“Glazing” in relation to the Venetian Method refers to the application of a darker transparent paint over a lighter area. Doing so causes light rays to pass through a transparent darker layer, bouncing off the lighter surface underneath, then returning to the viewer’s eyes, and was useful in creating subtle optical illusions. Only the Renaissance practice of glazing can produce this particular effect, one which results in the look of a warm glow and more saturated colours than the same pigment could achieve if applied more thickly and opaquely.   Modern methods, with their more opaque results, lose a sense of distance when one is looking at shadows. Rembrandt’s glowing and rich dark browns owe their origins to this Venetian…

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