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Andrew
03-05-2002, 11:48 AM
Is there a website, book, or article that speaks specifically on the palette and techniques of the old masters? I have read a few general books, but I have found nothing (yet - the search is still young) that gets down and dirty with the specifics.

Andrew

Wayne Gaudon
03-05-2002, 09:17 PM
Simulation of Old Master Palette :

Raw Sienna Burnt Sienna Payne's Grey

Great value and intermediate tinting strength yields low intensity and semitransparant mixtures.. especially good for portraits and autumn florals. Violet mixtures don't exist so a good dark replaces them .. greens and oranges are low key and mysterious. This acording to a book I am presently reading called Exploring Color .. Nita Leland

Brie
03-07-2002, 12:43 AM
Joseph Sheppard, "How to Paint Like the Old Masters," ISBN 082302671X. The demonstration paintings are highly stylized, but Sheppard includes information on palette and technique. - Brie

Einion
03-07-2002, 11:01 PM
Andrew was there a specific old master whose palette you were looking for or a number for comparisons?

FWIW I haven't looked at Joseph Sheppard's book in many years but I remember it as being quite good and accurate but I have read criticisms about some of the factual content and conclusions, no idea if this is valid or not though. Some of the reviews on Amazon might mention something of this so it might be worth a look.


Wayne, can you elaborate on what Nita Leland says about those colours? I'm wondering in particular about Payne's Grey, whether it is supposed to simulate a blue-black. And just two earths (both transparent) and a black don't make a useable palette and to the best of my knowledge nobody painted with this few colours.

Einion

Brie
03-07-2002, 11:54 PM
I'm not Wayne, but have both editions of Nita's book. In the palette referred to, the Payne's Gray is used as a blue; the Burnt Sienna as a red; and Yellow Ochre (or Raw Sienna) as a yellow. Not as versatile in watercolor as it would be in oil (where the temperature shift and opacity provided by adding white gives one a whole new set of extra things to play with), but still a workable palette for a subdued landscape or still life. I actually really do like using this palette in oil, although I prefer substituting Indian Red for the Burnt Sienna, and Yellow Ochre for the Raw Sienna. I recently used Payne's Gray, Indian Red, Yellow Ochre for an ocean sunset scene that in reality had been quite dramatic, but if I had painted it that bright, would have been overkill. I didn't want it to look hackneyed. The subdued colors did what I needed. - Brie

Andrew
03-08-2002, 12:50 PM
But I am very interested in Rubens, and Titian. I would love to see how Titian built up such fabulous works on a deep red ground.

Andrew

Wayne Gaudon
03-08-2002, 10:32 PM
Brie

Did you like the books .. I am overwhelmed with it .. I hav to admit I don't follow it to a key but it has me experimenting like crazy and some of the colors produced are quite wonderful.

Wayne Gaudon
03-08-2002, 10:44 PM
''

Brie
03-08-2002, 11:40 PM
Originally posted by Wayne Gaudon
Brie

Did you like the books .. I am overwhelmed with it.

Yes, I did. It's been several years now since I got the first edition of that book, and when the second one came out I got that too, thinking I'd pass along the first; but in the end I had to keep them both! Nita got me thinking about the joys of using a very small palette tailored to the painting, and really pushing it to its limits.

Lately I was going through some things I inherited from my grandmother, and discovered something very interesting in an ancient Walter Foster (!) book. The book recommended making a limited-palette color chart as follows:

Make a matrix 5 columns wide x 13 rows tall

Middle column: Colors as they come from the tube
Left of that: Add white and more white
Right of that: Add black and more black

Rows going down:

Row 1: A yellow
Row 5: A blue
Row 9: A red
Row 13: Duplicate Row 1, the yellow (just to make the chart easier to comprehend - i.e., to show how the oranges were derived)

now fill in ...

Row 3 = mix yellow and blue together 1:1, then lighten with white (for the leftmost columns) and darken with black (for the rightmost columns)
Row 7 = half blue, half red
Row 11 = half red, half yellow
continue "splitting the difference" to fill the other rows

I realize it would be better to scan this, but my scanner isn't hooked up right now.

I just made one of these charts to try it out, and think it's quite useful. However, I ended up adding a column at the right. The darkest mixtures are hard to tell much about, so it was helpful to then add 50 percent white to them so I could see what I had. - Brie

paintbug
03-12-2002, 08:24 AM
Wayne.
Thanks for posting that page, but try as I might I can't read what it says. I even moved it into Photoshop. Anyway I all I want to know is what it says around the chart itself. not the text portion.:confused:

Thanks in advance,

antonio
03-22-2002, 07:00 PM
Originally posted by Andrew
Is there a website, book, or article that speaks specifically on the palette ......of the old masters? I have read a few general books, but I have found nothing (yet - the search is still young) that gets down and dirty with the specifics.

Andrew

Basic Artists Palette from Antiquity to approximately 1700 ?

Lead White, Chalk White
Charcoal Black, Soot Black
Red Ochre
Yellow Ochre, Raw Siena
Terra Verde (green), Malachite (green), Copper Green
Lapis Lazuli (blue), Azurite (blue)
Brown Ochre (Burnt Siena, Burnt Umber)
Lead-Tin Yellow
Vermillion Red

Amorphis
03-23-2002, 03:56 PM
Thanks Wayne and Brie for the information... I might just pick up a copy of that book.

Lead-Tin Yellow
that one sounds healthy :rolleyes: :D

Heidi
03-24-2002, 08:35 AM
I remember this site a long time ago referring to an old master's palette:

http://www.gamblincolors.com/palettes/masters.html

Abu Haidar
04-18-2002, 11:34 PM
Hi all...

Sorry I am late... I had surfed to this website 2 days ago and found this interesting forum..

http://forum.portraitartist.com/forumdisplay.php?forumid=31

See you

Abu Haidar

Einion
04-19-2002, 09:01 PM
Andrew did you find what you were looking for yet?

I had a look at the Sheppard book Brie recommended for the first time in many years the other day and it is still impressive twenty years on. There is not a lot of discussion of the actual palettes of the original painters in many cases, just the palette that he uses to simulate their work, but the book's great strength is on method. He does demos in many styles (including both Rubens and Titian you'll be pleased to hear) and although some of the theory underlying his methods has been rethought since this was written as we have found out more he goes to great lengths to say he is not claiming his techniques or mediums are completely right, only that they emulate what we see quite well, which they do. The only problem I could see was one thing, I didn't seem to take into account the increasing transparency of oils over time in his thinking about the original appearance of the work which seemed most obvious on the Dürer demo.

Einion

inspired_perfection
05-08-2006, 02:04 AM
Heres one of Van Eyck's palettes

Brown Verdaccio - a dull tone used for outlining and shading
Red Madder
Genuine Ultramarine
Yellow Ochre
Terre Verte
Orpiment
Sinopia - iron oxide red
Peach Black

but any mix will do provided its technically sound and beautifully surrounded

jdadson
05-11-2006, 02:59 AM
Is there a website, book, or article that speaks specifically on the palette and techniques of the old masters? I have read a few general books, but I have found nothing (yet - the search is still young) that gets down and dirty with the specifics.

Andrew

There is a lot of info out there. Get your googling shoes on. It is fun to read about, but not as useful as one might expect. Much of what is written about techniques is pure speculation, often presented as fact or "discovery." The "discoveries" of the "secrets of the masters" are routinely disproven as the techniques of scientific analysis improve. There are some books that stick with the facts, though. One of my favorite books is "Rembrandt - The Painter at Work", by Ernst van de Wetering. I've read it at least half a dozen times.

The old masters were extremely handicapped by their materials. They didn't paint well because of the pigments they used, but in spite of them. Many of the paints they used are no longer generally available, and for very good reasons. Others are still around. For a few bucks, we can get a tube of ultramarine blue that would have cost an old master the price of a house. Lucky us.

The old masters' paintings are great because of what they painted, not their techniques or materials.

Richard Saylor
05-11-2006, 03:26 AM
The old masters' paintings are great because of what they painted, not their techniques or materials.Surely there's more to a great old master's painting than mere choice of subject and composition. How about drawing techniques, and using complements, glazing, and scumbling to take maximum advantage of what few colors they did have? How about Rembrandt's use of heavy impasto?

jdadson
05-11-2006, 04:49 PM
Surely there's more to a great old master's painting than mere choice of subject and composition. How about drawing techniques, and using complements, glazing, and scumbling to take maximum advantage of what few colors they did have? How about Rembrandt's use of heavy impasto?

By "what they painted" I meant what they got down on the canvas -- what we see today. There are vast empty spots in our knowledge about how the old masters went about painting. I doubt that it will all be figured out in our lifetimes. What I am saying is that those painters necessarily knew or devised methods that would work with the primative materials they had available. Would Rembrandt have used exactly the same techniques if he had had today's materials? Of course not.

You mention impasto. Some of the effects (the "what"), we can duplicate, although we are unsure of the techniques (the "how") that Rembrandt used. The result is the thing.

bigflea
05-11-2006, 08:36 PM
I too doubt that masters such as Rembrandt would handicap themselves by using the same palettes ( and compensating techniques) today as they used in their time. One other consideration that I feel is of greater importance than technique or materials, which you allude to Jive, is the underlying vision and/or realization that is the motivating factor in the painter's ultimate achievement. Their is an interesting book about Rembrandt, which was a memoir written by a doctor who took care of Sashia, Rembrandt's ailing wife. It is interesting to note that, in his conversations about painting with Rembrandt, there is no discussion of technique and materials by Rembrandt, but a great deal of emphasis on what Rembrandt saw as the ultimate reason to attempt to make a painting. Someone like Rembrandt with a great vision of what may be realized in a painting is not necessarily concerned about the technical aspects of the medium, but simply adapts his means to his end, ie. he makes the best use of the limitations he has to work with. By focusing on his technical necessities, it is possible we entirely miss the underlying meaning of his work.
Ken

jdadson
05-11-2006, 11:10 PM
Yea, Ken! You got it. The vision is the thing. The best looking paintings I've done are copies. No coincidence there. Once you know what to paint, the rest is easy. I've got a great looking copy of John Singer Sargent's self portrait. I did it with a palette limited to cadmium yellow light and quinacridone magenta, plus black and white. He certainly did not have quinacridone magenta, but I used it because it seemed like the most expeditious way to go about getting the colors right.

... Their is an interesting book about Rembrandt, which was a memoir written by a doctor who took care of Sashia, Rembrandt's ailing wife. ...


Surely it's fiction, right? If not, how did it escape me? I'd like to read it in any case. Can you remember the title?

bigflea
05-13-2006, 05:14 AM
The book is entitled THE LIFE OF REMBRANDT VAN RIJN, by Hendrik Willem Van Loon. The book is a revised version of an original memoir written by one Joannis Van Loon, who was the doctor attending Sashia and subsequently the friend of the painter. I guess it is out of print, and the copy I have was published by THE HERITAGE PRESS from 1939 to 1954.
Ken

jdadson
05-14-2006, 01:43 AM
The book is entitled THE LIFE OF REMBRANDT VAN RIJN, by Hendrik Willem Van Loon. The book is a revised version of an original memoir written by one Joannis Van Loon, who was the doctor attending Sashia and subsequently the friend of the painter. I guess it is out of print, and the copy I have was published by THE HERITAGE PRESS from 1939 to 1954.
Ken

There are many copies for sale online, some for a few dollars.

Frankly, I am skeptical. One blurb I found said that Van Loon was a descendant of Rembrandt, and that he "found" the ancient documents. Given that Van Loon also wrote books named "The Story of Mankind," and, "The Story of the Bible," it just seems a little too convenient that he found those 300 year old documents by his ancestor. Surely, if they are real, someone must have published verbatim translations. Where are they?

bigflea
05-14-2006, 01:19 PM
Jive,
"Found the ancient documents...". Gotta love that one. No matter what you are selling, that phrase ought to bring in some money.

Anyway, in the book there is really no evidence of it being a fictional account. I suppose if someone were obsessively knowledgeable re. Rembrandt's life and events they could cross reference to detect for that.

Also, the book makes it clear there is no blood relationship between Rembrandt and the author, or the Van Loon name. In the epilogue it suggests that the Rembrandt bloodline probably died out within a few years of his death, based on the death certificates of grandchildren and children.

However, the widow of Titus was named Magdelena van Loo, and it is possible someone is confusing the two similar last names.

Ken

georgeoh
05-16-2006, 01:26 AM
I just gave a lecture at the National Gallery of Art last week about the palette of the Old Masters. From the 15th to 17th centuries, the palette of the Old Masters consisted of the following pigments:

Blue Colors
Azurite
Indigo
Lapis lazuli
Smalt

Yellow Colors
Indian yellow
Lead-tin yellow
Naples yellow
Ochre
Orpiment

Green Colors
Green earth (celadonite and glauconite)
Malachite
Verdigris

Red Colors
Cinnabar and Vermilion
Carmine lake
Hematite
Madder lake
Minium (red lead)
Red ochre

Brown Colors
Bituminous brown earth
Brown ochre (goethite)
Umber
Sienna

Black Colors
Carbon black (charcoal, vine black, bone black, ivory black)
Lamp black
Mineral black

White Colors
Chalk
Gypsum
Lead white

romumu
05-17-2006, 04:37 PM
Hello

Books about materials & techniques of old masters I know being interesting :

from Dover Fine Art & Art Instruction Catalog :

CL Eastlake - Methods & materials of painting of the Great Schools & Masters
MP Merrifield - Medieval & Renaissance treatises on the arts of painting
Gettens/Stout - Painting materials : A short encyclopaedia
AP Laurie - The painter's methods & materials

& books by Thompson (Cennini translation, Materails & techniques of medieval painting...)

For palette used in France-Netherland in XVI-XVII's there's the Turquet de Mayerne....About pigments the best modern books are whose called 'artists pigments' in 3 volumes (Roy, Oxford). Good book including 6 spanish treatises from XVI-XVIII's is '6 treatises on translation : artists' techniques in golden age spain' by Veliz (Cambridge)

Myself I considere these colors :

azurit, ultramarin, smalt, blue verditer, indigo
malachit, verditer, green earth, verdigris & resinate, sap green
orpiment, yellow ocre, lead-tin oxyde, naples yellow, yellow from nerprun
cinaber, vermillon, minium, madder, carmin, red ocre, hematit, iron oxyde
lytharge, massicot
ceruse, chalk, calcit, gypsum
ivory black, charcoal from vine or apricot etc, lamp black, graphite
+ earth

etc =)

georgeoh
05-31-2006, 04:19 AM
But I am very interested in Rubens, and Titian.

Here are some of the pigments found on their palettes:

Titian’s Palette
Bone black
Burnt Sienna
Lapis lazuli
Lead white
Madder lake
Malachite
Orpiment
Red ochre
Yellow ochre

Ruben’s Palette
Bone black
Burnt Sienna
Cobalt blue
Green earth
Lapis lazuli
Lead white
Madder lake
Malachite
Orpiment
Red ochre
Vermilion
Yellow lake
Yellow ochre

jdadson
05-31-2006, 02:58 PM
Joseph Sheppard, "How to Paint Like the Old Masters," ISBN 082302671X. The demonstration paintings are highly stylized, but Sheppard includes information on palette and technique. - Brie


That's the one with the Chrome Woman, right? I wouldn't put too much stock in that one.

Mangrove
09-15-2009, 04:02 PM
But I am very interested in Rubens, and Titian.

Titian's palette for "Sacred and Profane Love (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_and_Profane_Love)" according to R. Klockenkämper (http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/69501860/PDFSTART)'s analyze:

Azurite
Copper green pigment?
Lead-tin yellow
Vermilion
White lead
Yellow ochre

georgeoh
09-15-2009, 06:02 PM
The copper green pigment is malachite, which was commonly used by Venetian painters of this time period and is a copper mineral related to azurite.

sidbledsoe
09-15-2009, 07:16 PM
I haven't read that report yet, just the list, did they find no evidence of a black pigment?

rltromble
09-17-2009, 12:42 PM
Highly unlikely, the no-black idea didn't pop up until the impressionist as far as I know. But personally I think people should focus less of what mediums and colors the masters used and spend more time on technique and color mixing.

oldgarden
09-26-2009, 10:36 AM
Aside from the question as to the value in using or not using master painters' original palettes, a fascinating resource is Faber Birren's, History of Color, http://www.amazon.com/History-Color-Painting-Principles-Expression/dp/0442111185/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1253974841&sr=1-1. Although out of print and oddly organized, it's a very interesing book. Although it predates high quality B/W and color reproduction I would buy it again in a heartbeat. In addition to many images and color lists of painters' palettes, it also includes images of artists' studios through the ages.

Sarah

llawrence
09-26-2009, 07:48 PM
I hesitate to mention it, but... keep in mind that all these wonderful modern synthetic organic pigments are made from petroleum and other hydrocarbons, and as yet there is no replacement for these hydrocarbon ingredients, which are in finite supply. Someday, who knows when, but someday the quinacridones and phthalocyanines are probably going to get a lot more expensive than they are now. I think it does make sense to study the techniques of the old masters, considering that they developed those techniques at least partly to overcome the limitations of the palette they had to work with, and that we here may someday also be working with a more limited palette than we do now. Just a stray thought...

sidbledsoe
09-27-2009, 07:34 AM
As a lover of earth based palettes/paintings who shudders at the gaudy sight of some of the work produced with pthalos and quins, boy that is a nice thought!

(I know, they can be tamed, but many don't to my eye, that's just my op!)