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alva
06-12-2002, 05:46 PM
I have been in the process of organizing, translating, etc., all the notes of J. Maroger for some time now. Most are in french of course, but some are in english. I plan on presenting them, along with interviews with his former students and proponents/detractors of the medium, as well as biographical info, etc., in book form. I feel that the book is of historical and technical interest, considering the still-present controversy concerning Maroger's lifework. The following is an excerpt(in Maroger's somewhat stilted english), a rough draft of a portion of his book, hope you enjoy...
"The cooked oil or stand oil.- This is the big discovery of Jan Van Eyck...The one we find in the trade has not the quality of the one we are able to make. In the modern factory they cook in vacumn for avoid the disagreeable flavor their smokd. In such a way she cannot be oxidized and is what for we are obliged to cook for ourself outside in the free air... the strength of the fire will heat the oil which will make some fumes and after awhile catch fire...In doing so you obtain what the master called an oil of 1, 2, 3, etc., fire. We think is necessary to arrive to 6 or 7 fires for obtain the varnish from Van Eyck..."
...more later, alva

Luis Guerreiro
06-13-2002, 04:14 PM
Hi Alva,

I am glad you are dedicating time to Jacques Maroger. Maroger needs be taken with a pinch of salt, I think.
Joseph Sheppard, who is a former student of Maroger, gives detailed information about the Maroger mediums and the Masters mediums in his book "How to Paint Like the Old Masters". He certainly doesn't mention such 7 fires boiled oils. Long before Maroger, another great research work by Sir Charles Eastlake provided important clues about the Old Masters methods, recipes etc.
One of the points that have been discussed here and elsewhere (please search Wetcanvas, you will find information I published in previous postings) is precisely the method of boiling the oil. Firstly although today linseed oil is preferred, in the past walnut oil was the right choice for boiled oils. Then the temperature the oil boils is another matter of interest. Surely, carbonising the oil doesn't seem the right thing to do hence my doubts about the 7 fires theory. Jean Claude Yvel, a French artist who has done plenty of research on the subject, advises that the oil should not be boiled at temperatures higher then 120 Celsius.
Another point is the apparent confusion between boiled oil and stand oils. These are different oils. As are the concepts of a boiled oil in past centuries, compared to the modern concept of a modern boiled oil. In the past boiled oils seemed to be considered more like "vernice liquida", i.e. varnishes made up of oil boiled mixed with resins, colophony, etc... These crack badly. The method used by Rubens (and his paintings not only did not crack nearly as much, they still look luminous and fabulous as when they were painted) seemed to be a much lighter boiled oil painting medium, surely not boiled more then at 120 Celsius in the presence of lead oxides (possibly massicot or litharge).
I am looking forward your comments and conclusions.
Best regards
Luis :)

alva
06-13-2002, 11:31 PM
Thanks Luis, for your comments, they are much appreciated. The particular passage I mention above is of course just a portion of what Maroger wrote concerning that particular subject, I have included here just a small part. To clarify though, later in the passage Maroger does mention in effect that a 6 or 7 fire oil would not be necessary or useful to obtain a Van Eyck medium, and that if the cooked oil one makes is too strong, it can be cut with raw oil, venice turp to adjust fluidity. Also, the complete passage mentions an old reference to the superiority of walnut oil. There is a large amount of info and in the book I present it. gotta run for now! regards, alva

Luis Guerreiro
06-14-2002, 01:42 AM
Originally posted by alva
Thanks Luis, for your comments, they are much appreciated. The particular passage I mention above is of course just a portion of what Maroger wrote concerning that particular subject, I have included here just a small part. To clarify though, later in the passage Maroger does mention in effect that a 6 or 7 fire oil would not be necessary or useful to obtain a Van Eyck medium, and that if the cooked oil one makes is too strong, it can be cut with raw oil, venice turp to adjust fluidity. Also, the complete passage mentions an old reference to the superiority of walnut oil. There is a large amount of info and in the book I present it. gotta run for now! regards, alva

Alva,
I am glad to see that I was correct even without knowing your findings.
I really look forward your postings on this rather interesting subject and would like to suggest a visit to my own site I am building about oil painting materials, at http://www.oils-studio.co.uk/maroger_medium.htm
Warm regards
Luis :)