PDA

View Full Version : What's the name of this Old Master painting method?


Quality
03-28-2014, 10:15 AM
I've noticed that a lot of old master paintings feature a similar method when it comes to rendering portraits:

-A warm ground
-The darks are laid down with a shade of brown
-Lights are placed in so to let the warm ground shine through
-Highlights applied last


I pulled a few images where I think you can clearly see this layering process being applied.

Unfinished painting using this method:
http://www.artexpertswebsite.com/pages/artists/artists_a-k/delvaga/delVaga_TheHolyFamilyWithSt.JohnTheBaptist,Unfinished.jpg

High resolution paintings
http://i.imgur.com/qsdTJOH.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/ehVaF2T.jpg


Just looking for the name of this process?

ianos dan
03-28-2014, 02:27 PM
Hello Quality !
the first painting looks like a Late Renaissance painting ,maybe Mannerism ,style of painting used by Danielle da Voltera, Parmigianino ,Coreggio ,in which a warm imprimatura was laid first ,over a fixed drawing .Then,followed the large masses of white ,or ,in some cases ,the actual painting ,made ,usually on separate details,like head ,hands landscape ,and so forth .The artist ,sometimes ,almost finished a head ,(there is an example of Michelangelo's portrait ),and after that ,the artist could have done the rest ,depends on the artist.
The second painting ,and the third one ,looks like 18th century painting ,which differs from the first one .This was already the academic style of painting ,the canvas was toned with a different hue ,sometimes ,it was used a pale grey ,or not at all ,some painters made the lay in of the color ,immediately ,then followed the final stage.
The name of the process is ,in general ,underpainting ,but different from period to period ,from school to school.
The similarities ,if there are some ,is that ,the shadows are in general warm,in all classical paintings ,and because ,the underpainting ,or monochromatic preparation ,was made ,in general with earth colors ,that were cheaper ,easy to made.
The differences you could notice is that ,the second and the third one ,is more developed ,almost finished in local colors,unlike the first one ,in which ,the traced drawing is still visible.
In general ,a toned canvas ,or wood panel ,would serve as a halftone ,maybe half shadow (if there is a darker color used),and functions as a balance between lights and shadows ,and it was visible even in the finished pieces .
l think in the last two paintings ,is not the toned canvas you see ,but the underpainting ,or probably the first application of the local color ,which had to be transparent .

ianos dan
03-28-2014, 02:42 PM
some images that might help :wave:http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Mar-2014/1165823-Volterra-Michelangelo.jpghttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Mar-2014/1165823-mysticma.jpghttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Mar-2014/1165823-Madame_R%C3%A9camier_by_Jacques-Louis_David.jpg

ianos dan
03-28-2014, 02:45 PM
forgot to post the one made by Luis David ,that is somehow related to your last ones http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Mar-2014/1165823-Madame_R%C3%A9camier_by_Jacques-Louis_David.jpg

ianos dan
03-28-2014, 02:46 PM
this is the one :http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/03/Madame_R%C3%A9camier_by_Jacques-Louis_David.jpg

Quality
03-28-2014, 03:23 PM
l think in the last two paintings ,is not the toned canvas you see ,but the underpainting ,or probably the first application of the local color ,which had to be transparent .

In the third painting, that same orange color is visible on the right side of the hair as well as around the outline of the right shoulder. I don't think this is local color at all. If you check out the layering (I picked high-res images for this purpose) you'll see that the darkest tones were placed on first (they don't overlap any other flesh tone) which would indicate a monochromatic brown underpainting on top of the orange toned canvas (probably a burnt sienna wash). What do you see as far as the layers go?

AllisonR
03-28-2014, 04:04 PM
In general ,a toned canvas ,or wood panel ,would serve as a halftone ,maybe half shadow (if there is a darker color used),and functions as a balance between lights and shadows ,and it was visible even in the finished pieces .
l think in the last two paintings ,is not the toned canvas you see ,but the underpainting ,or probably the first application of the local color ,which had to be transparent .

Agree. Nothing worse than a solid white canvas. Can only go darker. With a halftone, you can control lights and darks.

This orange you see, which you guess is maybe burnt umber, is probably not as orange as you see it - you are seeing it next to other colors, which tremendously impact the hue you see. I have seen many artists today make a grisaille or dead layer using very green pigments. Yes, some old master artists maybe did use a sort of green earth grisaille, but I personally think more likely that they used more neutral earth tones - like raw or burnt umber shades - but because of the colors of the more finished painting they see on top of and around these tiny specs of area - they look more green than they actually are. I just noticed this in my Raphael copy, where Raphael has very golden, beautiful skin. Some of his underlayers showing through look greenish. Yet I used no green in my imprimatura nor my underlayer - but it still looked green because of the colors that were applied after. A dot of green will look one shade surrounded by red and a totally different shade surrounded by blue.

Quality
03-28-2014, 04:58 PM
Agree. Nothing worse than a solid white canvas. Can only go darker. With a halftone, you can control lights and darks.

This orange you see, which you guess is maybe burnt umber, is probably not as orange as you see it - you are seeing it next to other colors, which tremendously impact the hue you see. I have seen many artists today make a grisaille or dead layer using very green pigments. Yes, some old master artists maybe did use a sort of green earth grisaille, but I personally think more likely that they used more neutral earth tones - like raw or burnt umber shades - but because of the colors of the more finished painting they see on top of and around these tiny specs of area - they look more green than they actually are. I just noticed this in my Raphael copy, where Raphael has very golden, beautiful skin. Some of his underlayers showing through look greenish. Yet I used no green in my imprimatura nor my underlayer - but it still looked green because of the colors that were applied after. A dot of green will look one shade surrounded by red and a totally different shade surrounded by blue.
If you have photoshop or GIMP, isolate the color and compare it to a Burnt Sienna wash. I'm pretty certain that's what I'm seeing.

ianos dan
03-28-2014, 05:14 PM
before going any further with the discussion ,please take a look at this valuable piece of gold ,a manual published at the middle of 18th century :http://books.google.com.au/books?pg=PA37&id=NKJbAAAAQAAJ&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false
there is a step by step description of each stage involved in painting a classical painting.
Another advice is to take a look at some threads opened by Ochre ,a guy interested in academical painting technique.
also ,you can find some interesting information online ,regarding the techniques of painting used by Alma Tadema or Bouguereau..
l will take a look ,and give you my opinion ,but just try to read that online book l just pasted here .
For the moment ,l cannot say fur sure ,if some tonal wash was involved in the painting you provided ,but l'm sure the artist was a member of the academy,and he was an adept of academical painting style ,not Mannerism or late Renaissance.
Interesting!

ianos dan
03-28-2014, 05:29 PM
Oh..another advice :the red earth color you see in the first painting,as well as the photos l provided ,mostly from the beginning of the 16th century ,was not the same color,four centuries ago,so ,take in consideration this ,before judging he chroma and hue of a painting.
For example ,Leonardo da vinci ,used a cream like toned panel ,but ,due to the age ,his underpaintings became darker and more orange.(l'm speaking about his unfinished paintings )

ianos dan
03-28-2014, 06:12 PM
This are some samples of color l took from the photo you provided.
My personal opinion is that the color of the ground ,could be a lighter version between the squares 1 and 2 ,the other resulting mixtures ,are areas left from the lay in stage.
This were taken from the areas that appears to be the most thinner .
If you are looking at some head studies made by Bouguereau ,you will see the ground wash ,l golden light grey ,pale color ,not the one you saw it in the paintings made in Late Renaissance epoque.
My personal thoughts about the order of the layers are:
1-ground wash (the light pale golden grey)
2-the lay in stage-local color ,lighter version of the final piece ,this including the use of brown ,red earth color in shadows
3-the final coloring ,lighter, thicker accents in light areas ,the patterns ,and so on. (l don't see traces of glazing here ,more alla prima treatment) http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Mar-2014/1165823-chroma.jpg

juturnal
04-02-2014, 01:48 AM
There is not really a name for the process. You might call it "glazing" when renaissance paintings were sketched/began with burnt sienna or raw umber to tone the canvas first. Then the next real colors would be painted on in multiple layers. Maybe google renaissance glazing technique or something. You might even want to check out Chiaroscuro paintings from the renaissance period

WFMartin
04-12-2014, 12:17 AM
I believe that the beginning efforts, based upon that which you've shown in your example, is called an "Ebauche".

Once that is laid in, and refined a bit, it appears to be a straightforward glazing operation performed over that, applying many very thin layers of color.