View Full Version : Pen and ink masterpieces

01-15-2019, 02:29 PM
I have found over the past few years that the Dutch masters did some large pen and ink masterpieces as stand alone works, some of these are shown alongside oil paintings in museums. Probably my favourite is the Hendrick Goltizus drawing in the below Wiki link. It seems to be a very interesting technique. He used a large scale canvas and put a layer of oil paint down, then drew on top of the oil paint with pen and ink. It is an incredible piece of draftsmanship. Make sure you load the high res version to get the full effect. I like the fusion of oil and ink.


The Rijksmuseum also has some giant pen and ink drawings on display, done on canvas and panel by Willem Van De Velde. He used a similar technique to Goltizus. An oil paint ground, with a pen and ink drawing over the top. He appears to brush in some of the ink, then use the pen. These like the Goltizus pieces are great displays of draftsmanship. For a sense of the scale the Battle of Terheide is 2.8 meters wide and 1.7 meters tall.


Iím not sure how the oil ground interacted with the ink, as I hear a lot of people saying you canít use ink over oil, but they appeard to have done so successfully. Van De Velde left his ground for 6 months before applying the ink. These works also had some form of varnish applied over the ink to protect them.

01-16-2019, 12:49 AM
Wow! When I think of Dutch ink drawings it's, for instance, those loose, beautiful landscapes by Rembrandt. This is something else altogether! Thanks for sharing, Wasp2016.

I can say from experience that India ink will go under oil paint without problem, but I've only gone with ink on acrylic gesso with transparent oil as the last layer. The shellac in the dried ink isn't bothered by OMS or turpentine solvents; shellac will dissolve in ethanol, but who uses ethanol with oils? IIRC, van Eyck sometimes made detailed ink underdrawings in some of his oil paintings, though I don't know what base layer he drew on.

Ink over oil? No idea.