Old Masters Academy

Posts Tagged "Art Terms"

Art Terms: Trompe-l’œil

Art Terms: Trompe-l’œil Trompe-l’œil, which can also be spelled without the hyphen in English as trompe l’oeil, French for ‘deceive the eye’ is an art technique involving extremely realistic imagery in order to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects appear in three dimensions. History in painting Although the phrase has its origin in the Baroque period, when it refers to perspectival illusionism, use of trompe-l’œil dates back much further. It was (and is) often employed in murals. Instances from Greek and Roman times are known, for instance in Pompeii. A typical trompe-l’œil mural might depict a window, door, or hallway, intended to suggest a larger room. A version of an oft-told ancient Greek story concerns a contest between…

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Art Terms: Vellum

Art Terms: Vellum Vellum (from the Old French Vélin, for “calfskin”) is mammal skin prepared for writing or printing on, to produce single pages, scrolls, codices or books. It is generally smooth and durable, although there are great variations depending on preparation, the quality of the skin and the type of animal used. The manufacture involves the cleaning, bleaching, stretching on a frame, and scraping of the skin with a hemispherical knife. To create tension, scraping is alternated by wetting and drying. A final finish may be achieved by abrading the surface with pumice, and treating with a preparation of lime or chalk to make it accept writing or printing ink. Modern “paper vellum” (vegetable vellum) is used for a…

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Art Terms: Underpainting

Art Terms: Underpainting In art, an underpainting is an initial layer of paint applied to a ground, which serves as a base for subsequent layers of paint. Underpaintings are often monochromatic and help to define colour values for later painting. There are several different types of underpainting, such as verdaccio and grisaille. Underpainting gets its name because it is painting that is intended to be painted over (see overpainting) in a system of working in layers. There is a popular misconception that underpainting should be monochromatic, perhaps in gray-scales. In fact, a multi-color underpainting is much more useful and was used extensively by artists such as Giotto (whose technique is described in detail by Cennino Cennini), as well as by…

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Art Terms: Brunaille

Art Terms: Brunaille A Brunaille is a painting executed entirely or primarily in shades of brown. Such a painting is described as having been painted “en brunaille“. Brunaille has its roots in 12th century stained glass made for Cistercian monasteries which in 1134 prohibited the use of color in their art. However, it was only in the early 17th century that the French term “brunaille” was coined to describe pictures painted in shades of brown. Brunaille are less common than paintings executed in grey (grisaille).

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Art Terms: Grisaille

Art Terms: Grisaille Grisaille is a term for painting executed entirely in monochrome or near-monochrome, usually in shades of grey. It is particularly used in large decorative schemes in imitation of sculpture. Many grisailles in fact include a slightly wider colour range, like the Andrea del Sarto fresco illustrated. Paintings executed in brown are sometimes referred to by the more specific term brunaille, and paintings executed in green are sometimes called verdaille. A grisaille may be executed for its own sake, as underpainting for an oil painting (in preparation for glazing layers of colour over it), or as a model for an engraver to work from. “Rubens and his school sometimes use monochrome techniques in sketching compositions for engravers.” Full…

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