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Adventures in Renaissance painting: how I spent my Christmas holiday

So, remember just before Christmas we took a break here while I worked on a painting commission?

Well, here it is.


Still not done though. I promised four miniatures and only managed to finish two by the deadline of get-it-into-the-post-before-Christmas. The cool part is that with every one I do the level goes up. Painting-as-video-game.

I’m doing it to learn traditional Renaissance egg tempera painting techniques, mostly by cobbling it together from Youtube videos, close and prolonged examination of the original Fra Angelico and other medieval and Renaissance paintings in the Perugia National Gallery, and by reading the one and only contemporary book on classical egg tempera techniques that a friend bought online for me a while ago.

The egg tempera technique is incredibly complex when it’s done in its full traditional manner, but its very arcane, ancient and alchemical aspects of it is what lends it such a mystique. But as a “lost” art, outside the rather rarified circles of Byzantine iconographers, it does have the disadvantage of being quite difficult to learn. There’s a lot you just have to more or less figure out on your own. Fortunately, I live in Italy…

Read the rest (including lots of cool before and after pics) —> here.

 

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