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Medium Well Done: Wood panels
So far in this series, I have looked almost exclusively at the paints used to make paintings, particularly in terms of the binder that holds pigment particles to the ground. What I have largely glossed over is the equally important matter of the ground and how it is supported.... Read more
Medium Well Done: 6 Oils
Since the decline of egg tempera as the preferred medium for easel paintings in the Renaissance, oil paints have dominated those used by professional painters. This is due to their longevity and versatility. When appropriate techniques are used, oil paintings readily survive over five hundred years, and are the... Read more
Alchemy: 4 – how oils came to Italy
By the middle of the 1400s, oil painting had been used for artistic works in northern Europe for over 200 years, and in the workshops of the van Eycks and their contemporaries it had flourished in ways simply not possible with other media such as egg tempera and fresco.... Read more
Highlights of the painting articles of 2016
I have no idea how many painters and paintings I have featured in articles here this year, but I have greatly enjoyed learning about them, and I hope that you have enjoyed them too. Here is a whirlwind tour of the last twelve months, and some of its highlights... Read more
Figures in a Landscape: introduction to a new series
Many landscape paintings come with not just fixtures and fittings, the elements which are necessarily in the view, such as fields, trees, mountains, buildings, and the sky, but with mobile extras: animals and people. Although a great many landscapes have been painted without so much as a cow or... Read more
Figures in a Landscape: 12 Renaissance realism
Most real landscapes contain real figures. Just as the Renaissance brought the realism of surface textures and optical effects to paintings, so it brought real figures to its realistic landscapes. Not that anyone could paint a pure landscape in the fifteenth century, of course – they still had to... Read more
Out of the Shadows: Form and figures
According to ancient legend, the person who ‘invented’ painting was not a man, and did so by tracing the shadow of her boyfriend. Dibutades, a maid of Corinth in Greece, was about to see her boyfriend sent away from the city on military service. As the daughter of a... Read more