Glazing – The Northern Tradition

Experts must forgive this somewhat bald classification which is only adopted to be concise. Flemish 15th century artists quickly exploited the way in which oil paint could create rich colour effects by means of successive layers of thin transparent paint of similar or even identical chroma (see above section). Generally a passage of undermodelling would be painted representing the motif in lighter hues of the intended end-state colour, with the modelling similarly put in with restrained tints. On this would be painted several layers of a similar and translucent colour, usually without any addition of white, but often thinned by the addition of oil blended with pine resin. The result would be an intensification and deepening of the given colour.

Demonstration panels, mimicking the Early Netherlandish artists’ techniques of drapery modelling in oil.

Demonstration panels, mimicking the Early Netherlandish artists’ techniques of drapery modelling in oil.

(Left) shows a bright undermodelling in vermilion modulated slightly with lead white and red lake. (Right) shows translucent glazes of red lake applied in successive layers to create the shadows. The glaze is thickest in the darker shadows; the very darkest are reinforced with the addition of a little ultramarine to give a purplish cast.

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