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Pushing it back: depth and repoussoir 1
Repoussoir is a term you’ll see bandied about in writing about art, particularly landscape painting. It’s French for pushing back, and refers to compositional techniques used to make the distant parts of an image look further away and deeper into the picture. In this article and its sequel tomorrow,... Read more
Medium Well Done: 5 Watercolour and gouache
Watercolour is the most inappropriately-named of the popular painting media. Oil paint uses drying oils as its binder, egg tempera uses the yolk of eggs, and glue tempera various types of glue. Water is, of course, not the binder in watercolour, but the diluent, used to turn blocks of... Read more
Landscape Visions: 10 All the rest, and Summary
At the start of this series, I suggested some different types of vision which landscape painters might have, in terms of what they were trying to achieve when painting a landscape. I have now considered most of these, but there are two remaining before I try to summarise what... Read more
Pigments + technique → style: 3 up to 1850
In the previous article, I explored the history of pigments used in painting up to 1700, and considered changes in techniques. This article covers the next 150 years, focussing again on oil painting in Europe. Pigments Prior to 1700, the great majority of pigments in use were those taken,... Read more
Trees in the landscape: 1. Introduction to the new series
Many of the finest landscape paintings consist of just three major elements: the sky, terrain, and trees. Some are little more than portraits of trees. In this new series of articles, I am going to concentrate on the depiction of trees by individual Western painters, where those trees form... Read more
Trees in the landscape: 2. John Constable as the bridge from old to new
Today Constable may seem an unlikely revolutionary. Mild, even staid, in comparison to his contemporary and rival JMW Turner, his lush green landscapes show nothing of the unrest in rural communities, but seem to amble along in their slow-paced dream. But his paintings form a bridge between the traditional... Read more
Trees in the landscape: Index
Introduction – a broad survey from Rubens to van Rysselberghe. Individual artists covered in chronological order of their birth, oldest first: Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665): one of the founding fathers of landscape painting, most of his landscapes straddled genres and few are dominated by trees. He did, though, paint many... Read more
Trees in the landscape: 10. Thomas Gainsborough and cloud canopies
You probably know Gainsborough from his portraits, particularly his remarkable painting of Mr and Mrs Robert Andrews. Not only was he originally a landscape painter, but to John Constable he was the greatest landscape artist. Gainsborough’s great rival, Sir Joshua Reynolds, surpassed him in becoming the first president of... Read more
Trees in the landscape: 11. Jacob van Ruisdael and ancient oaks
Landscapes painted during the Golden Age of Painting in the Netherlands, for much of the seventeenth century, were an important influence on all subsequent landscape artists, particularly Gainsborough, Constable, and JMW Turner. Of the several hundred artists of that Golden Age who painted landscapes, the best-known and most influential... Read more
Visible brushstrokes: 8. Painterly portraits
Each time that I think that I have finally assembled an outline account of the use of visible brushstrokes in painting, I seem to stumble across more interesting evidence. Having, I hope, built a reasonable picture of their occurrence in late Renaissance Italy, and the Venetian tradition possibly extending... Read more