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Old 12-28-2012, 04:32 PM
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ianos dan ianos dan is offline
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Egg tempera ,oil ,or mixed media?

Hello guys! l''ve just wanted to start a new technique of painting ,inspired by the great master of Rennaisance ,Michelangelo Buonarotti ,and l'm verry confused.
Searching about his technique of painting, l found some unfinished paintings in which it's obvious that it's an egg tempera ,because the cross hatching is visible .
Now ,l'll put some images of the Tondo Doni ,a finished painting next to a Boticelli painting ,that was made in egg tempera,just to see the diference.
Please help me solving this enigma ,because in the museum it's described to be made in egg tempera (tondo Doni ) ,but the volume is incredible ,and the form is so blended.....l think he used some resin over the egg tempera.
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Old 12-28-2012, 04:34 PM
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Re: Egg tempera ,oil ,or mixed media?

If you guys can find some high resolution of the Tondo Doni ,probably it will help .l didn't find
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Old 12-29-2012, 06:21 PM
Mayberry Mayberry is offline
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Re: Egg tempera ,oil ,or mixed media?

Hello! It's hard to tell from the photo. Some sources I've found label Tondo Doni as oil and egg tempera on panel.

When my daughter was taking an art history class, she had an access code to a website that had very high res images of thousands of paintings. She'll be taking another art history class in January. I'll get her to let me look at this painting when her class starts up.

I have seen some egg tempera portraits that don't have visible hatching though (at least from photos on the Internet). See for example the egg tempera paintings of Enrico De Cenzo. Some color transitions can be made quite smooth with many small transparent sheets of color, rather than lines.
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Old 12-30-2012, 08:10 AM
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Re: Egg tempera ,oil ,or mixed media?

THank you so much Mayberry ! l am grateful for your effort in my searchings .Keep in touch ,and maybe this mistery will be solved .
What in intriguing it's that Michelangello worked fast (at least Vasari and others said about him),he dind't spent to much on a piece
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Old 12-30-2012, 09:21 PM
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Re: Egg tempera ,oil ,or mixed media?

Art Renewal Center might have something like that.
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Old 12-31-2012, 10:51 AM
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Re: Egg tempera ,oil ,or mixed media?

If you can read Italian, take a look at this 1985 book about the last restoration work done on the painting:
Title: Il Tondo Doni di Michelangelo e il suo restauro : Firenze, Galleria degli Uffizi, Sala della Niobe, dal 7 dicembre 1985 /
Author: Meloni Trkulja, Silvia.
Publication: Firenze : Centro Di, 1985

Here are two other books about the painting that will probably provide detail on the technique he used:
--- Title: Mysterium Magnum : Michelangelo's Tondo Doni /
Author: Stefaniak, Regina.
Publication: Leiden ; Boston : Brill, 2008
--- Title: Michelangelo Doni tondo /
Author: Fossi, Gloria.; Boomsliter, Paula.
Publication: Florence : Giunti Gruppo Editoriale, 1998

Jan
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Old 01-01-2013, 12:47 PM
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Re: Egg tempera ,oil ,or mixed media?

Thank you so much Studio-1-F about this precious information ,this books are available online ?
ArtSavesLives,thank you,l found the Tondo in Art Renewal gallery ,but they don't have a hi -res image
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:01 AM
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Re: Egg tempera ,oil ,or mixed media?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ianos dan
Thank you so much Studio-1-F about this precious information ,this books are available online ?
You're welcome! I doubt these expensive academic books will be available free online. Visit your local library. They may be able to get these for you.

Jan
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Old 01-17-2013, 04:35 AM
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Re: Egg tempera ,oil ,or mixed media?

l found Il Tondo Doni di Michelangelo e il suo restauro book and l want to buy it.probably will find some important tips about the medium of this great painting
.so excited to find out the big secret ))))
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:48 AM
Koo Schadler Koo Schadler is offline
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Re: Egg tempera ,oil ,or mixed media?

Hello Ianos,

I have a great interest in this topic too, but so far have not found a clear answer to your question. As noted, different sources say different things regarding the Tondo. You’d think the Ufizzi would have the final say but the last time I was there, two years ago, many of the labels looked very old and not fully trustworthy. The book on the Tondo Doni restoration, which I’ve had on my wish list for years, might answer the question but seems perennially unavailable (if anyone out there has a copy, please let us know what it says!!)

They reason I say the book might answer the question is because the book was written in 1985, and the science at that time wasn’t as sophisticated in identifying certain mediums; and even today conservators are not always able to identify in paintings the various binders in use during the Renaissance.

1400 to 1500 is a confusing period in art history. Oil painting had been around for centuries but it was only in the late 1300s, in the north, that it became a well-understood and sophisticated medium. Oils paintings of the late 1300 to early 1400s by Van Eyck, Van der Wyden, and other northern painters became very desirable to rich, Italian merchants, and northern artwork (and some artists) traveled south. Italians painters were deeply impressed by the more saturated tones and smoother blending evident in these oil paintings (never mind the north’s greater attention to “realistic” effects, such as dirtying their shadows, painting things to look like gold versus using actual gold leaf, etc).

Italian artists responded in various ways to these paintings. Some artists continued to work in egg tempera as they’d always done. Some stuck with tempera but worked harder to make it look like oil by creating smoother transitions and deeper, dirtier tones. Others did egg tempera under paintings, then finished in oil. Others transitioned fully to oil. Piero della Francesca began as a tempera painter (The Baptism of Christ) but by mid-career was working full time in oil. Botticelli went back and forth…egg tempera, tempera grassa, oil, back to tempera…. It’s a confusing time, for sure.

As I’m sure you know, tempera grassa (literally “fatty tempera) refers to an egg and oil emulsion. It is a mix (like mayonnaise) of egg yolk and one of the drying vegetable oils (linseed, walnut, etc). But the term tempera grassa lacks specificity. If such an emulsion is made with a predominance of yolk (more than 50% in the mix) it is an egg oil emulsion, thins with water, and behaves more like traditional egg tempera than oil. However you can also make a tempera grassa that is predominately oil, i.e. the mix contains 50% or more oil. That would be called an oil egg emulsion, requires a solvent to thin, and behaves more like oil than tempera.

From what I understand, it is unfortunately very hard for conservators to distinguish between an egg tempera under painting with oil paints applied on top; egg oil emulsion; oil egg emulsion; or even be sure that something is 100% oil, without some egg protein somewhere in the paint film. They don’t yet have the science to always figure out precisely which of these mediums is in a 500 year-old paint film. There are several conservators specifically addressing this issue, trying to untangle the mess....but they haven’t quite gotten there yet.

So, regarding the Tondo Doni. Michelangelo painted the piece around 1506-08. By this point I think very few artists were still working exclusively in egg tempera. If they did, they did so selectively; maybe they did an under painting in tempera, to speed up things (tempera dries much faster than oil). Or, since tempera yellows less than oil, they sometimes used tempera for light valued areas of a painting (to keep them bright). Another example is an altarpiece by Raphael in which the lower, small predella pieces are in tempera - perhaps for the brighter tonality and crisper detail that would have made this tiny part of the altarpiece more visible – but the main, larger body of the altar is in oil. Despite such examples, almost no one (except for the loyal icon painters) was working exclusively in egg tempera by the time Michelangelo painted his tondo. Michelangeo was conversant in tempera (as was typical of his time, and evident in some of his under paintings), but I think he would have been primarily painting in oil (when he wasn’t working in fresco, drawing, or sculpting!).

Also, as you noted, the tondo is very smoothly blended. As someone who has worked in tempera for many years, I can attest that hatch strokes are not a requisite part of the medium – with care, a tempera painter can achieve smooth blending. But it is hard to achieve the degree of plasticity and modeling that is in the Tondo piece – it really looks like oil.

It could, of course, be an emulsion – my tendency would say an oil egg emulsion (versus a more tempera-like egg oil mix). Or maybe it was begun with an emulsion and largely completed with pure oil….the latter, in fact, would be my guess…an unscientific guess, to be sure!

I don’t mean to be glib, but if your goal is to emulate the Tondo Doni I’m not sure how much it matters whether you use an oil egg emulsion, or oil, or first one than the other. I’m primarily an egg tempera painter but do have a bit of experience in tempera grassa (both types). I find that if you are working with an egg oil emulsion, your tones are a bit more saturated, you have a wee bit more window in which to blend…but you still essentially are dealing with a medium that has the nature of egg tempera. And conversely, I’ve found an oil egg emulsion to be, well, not too much different from working thinly in oil (some differences for sure, but not huge ones). To take it a step further…I think its interesting that tempera grassa, if it did exist as a medium in the 1400s (some people wonder if it is more myth than fact…I tend to think it was used to some extent) – it never gained traction. By 1500 oil had more or less won the day. In other words, tempera grassa seems not to have had enough benefits over either egg tempera or oil to become a well-established medium in its own right. (Which isn’t to say it doesn’t have good qualities; only that most of those qualities can be achieved with egg tempera or oil. I expect there are tempera grassa painters out there who will disagree with me, and I’d love to hear their views, to counter my own, admittedly limited experience with tempera grassa.) I only mean to say that I think you could successfully emulate the Tondo in either an oil egg emulsion or pure oil; you could use whichever is your preference.

Well, a long answer, but I really like this topic – it is such an interesting period in art history. Hope it helps you sort out your working method.

Koo
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:46 AM
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Re: Egg tempera ,oil ,or mixed media?

Wow...for this answer Koo !!!!
It's very complete ,and it cames from a very experienced person
The first thing about Michelangelo's work and philosophy,in my opinion, was that he was very attached to the traditional techniques from his time (compared to Leonardo who always experimented with mediums,but hardly finished pieces),and he admired Masaccio,Francesca,Ghirlandajo(his master),therefore he painted that huge fresco of the Sixtine Chapel,which l think ,none of his contemporary painters could made.
That is one of my clues in solving "the mistery " of Tondo Doni ,and the most important one.
I will put a print screen of an unfinished painting by Michelangello ,just to see his underpainting ,and that green earth color for the flesh ,that is also used in icons,and from there Koo ,l think you will solve the mistery ,becasue ,in my oppinion ,he used the same technique on Tondo painting ,being a master of this technique.
Thank you again Koo for your time and for this wonderful episode in the History of Art !
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:02 AM
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Re: Egg tempera ,oil ,or mixed media?

Here's a fragment of the Manchester Madonna .
The 2 figures from left are painted only with a green earth color (verdaccio?),unfinished
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:04 AM
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Re: Egg tempera ,oil ,or mixed media?

The figure of the Virgin is almost finished in egg tempera ( l think )
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:07 AM
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Re: Egg tempera ,oil ,or mixed media?

Some detalis of the folds ,there you can see the dense cross hatching ,and also the rocks ,that looks like a base
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:20 AM
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Re: Egg tempera ,oil ,or mixed media?

If you are looking very closely at the face of the Virgin ,you can see in some areas of highlights and halftones, a very subtle crosshatching,but l didn't find anywhere a hiresolution image of the Tondo Doni
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