Grisaille

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Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1565, 24 cm x 34 cm (9.4 in x 13.4 in) Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery Bruegel.jpg
Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery , Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1565, 24 cm × 34 cm (9.4 in × 13.4 in)
Battesimo della gente, one of Andrea del Sarto's gray and brown grisaille frescoes in the Chiostro dello Scalzo, Florence (1511-26). Del sarto Battesimo della gente.jpg
Battesimo della gente, one of Andrea del Sarto's gray and brown grisaille frescoes in the Chiostro dello Scalzo, Florence (1511-26).

A grisaille ( /ɡrɪˈz/ or /ɡrɪˈzl/ ; French : gris [ɡʁizaj] 'grey') is a painting executed entirely in shades of grey or of another neutral greyish colour. [1] It is particularly used in large decorative schemes in imitation of sculpture. Many grisailles include a slightly wider colour range, like the Andrea del Sarto fresco illustrated. Paintings executed in brown are referred to as brunaille, and paintings executed in green are called verdaille. [2]

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

Painting practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface

Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a solid surface. The medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush, but other implements, such as knives, sponges, and airbrushes, can be used. The final work is also called a painting.

Andrea del Sarto Italian painter

Andrea del Sarto was an Italian painter from Florence, whose career flourished during the High Renaissance and early Mannerism. Though highly regarded during his lifetime as an artist senza errori, his renown was eclipsed after his death by that of his contemporaries, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael.

Contents

A grisaille may be executed for its own sake, as underpainting for an oil painting (in preparation for glazing layers of colour over it), or as a model for an engraver to work from. "Rubens and his school sometimes use monochrome techniques in sketching compositions for engravers." [3] Full colouring of a subject makes many more demands of an artist, and working in grisaille was often chosen as being quicker and cheaper, although the effect was sometimes deliberately chosen for aesthetic reasons. Grisaille paintings resemble the drawings, normally in monochrome, that artists from the Renaissance on were trained to produce; like drawings they can also betray the hand of a less talented assistant more easily than a fully coloured painting.

In art, an underpainting is an initial layer of paint applied to a ground, which serves as a base for subsequent layers of paint. Underpaintings are often monochromatic and help to define color values for later painting. There are several different types of underpainting, such as veneda, verdaccio, morellone and grisaille.

Oil painting process of painting with pigments that are bound with a medium of drying oil

Oil painting is the process of painting with pigments with a medium of drying oil as the binder. Commonly used drying oils include linseed oil, poppy seed oil, walnut oil, and safflower oil. The choice of oil imparts a range of properties to the oil paint, such as the amount of yellowing or drying time. Certain differences, depending on the oil, are also visible in the sheen of the paints. An artist might use several different oils in the same painting depending on specific pigments and effects desired. The paints themselves also develop a particular consistency depending on the medium. The oil may be boiled with a resin, such as pine resin or frankincense, to create a varnish prized for its body and gloss.

Physical model smaller or larger physical copy of an object

Physical model is a smaller or larger physical copy of an object. The object being modelled may be small or large.

History

Hans Memling wing, with donor portrait in colour below grisaille Madonna imitating sculpture. Hans Memling 016.jpg
Hans Memling wing, with donor portrait in colour below grisaille Madonna imitating sculpture.

Giotto used grisaille in the lower registers of his frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel, and Robert Campin, Jan van Eyck and their successors painted grisaille figures on the outsides of the wings of triptychs, including the Ghent Altarpiece. Originally these were the sides on display for most of the time, as the doors were normally kept closed except on feast days or at the (paid) request of tourists. However today these images are often invisible in museums when the tryptych is displayed open and flat against a wall. In these cases imitation of sculpture was intended; sculpture was still more expensive than a painting even by a top master.

Giotto Italian painter and architect

Giotto di Bondone, known mononymously as Giotto and Latinised as Giottus, was an Italian painter and architect from Florence during the Late Middle Ages. He worked during the Gothic/Proto-Renaissance period.

Scrovegni Chapel chapel in Padua famous for its frescos by Giotto

The Scrovegni Chapel, is a small church, adjacent to the Augustinian monastery, the Monastero degli Eremitani in Padua, region of Veneto, Italy. The chapel and monastery are now part of the complex of the Museo Civico of Padua. The chapel contains a fresco cycle by Giotto, completed about 1305 and considered to be an important masterpiece of Western art.

Robert Campin first great master of Flemish and Early Netherlandish painting

Robert Campin, now usually identified with the Master of Flémalle, was the first great master of Flemish and Early Netherlandish painting. Campin's identity and the attribution of the paintings in both the "Campin" and "Master of Flémalle" groupings have been a matter of controversy for decades. Campin was highly successful during his lifetime, and thus his activities are relatively well documented, but he did not sign or date his works, and none can be securely connected with him. A corpus of work attached to the unidentified "Master of Flémalle", so named in the 19th century after three religious panels said to have come from a monastery in Flémalle. They are each assumed to be wings of triptychs or polyptychs, and are the Virgin and Child with a Firescreen now in London, a panel fragment with the Thief on the Cross in Frankfurt, and the Brussels version of the Mérode Altarpiece.

Illuminated manuscripts had often been produced in pen and wash with a very limited colour range, and many artists such as Jean Pucelle and Matthew Paris specialised in such work, which had been especially common in England since Anglo-Saxon times. Renaissance artists such as Mantegna and Polidoro da Caravaggio often used grisaille as a classicising effect, either in imitation of the effect of a classical sculptured relief, or of Roman painting.

Illuminated manuscript manuscript in which the text is supplemented by the addition of decoration

An illuminated manuscript is a manuscript in which the text is supplemented with such decoration as initials, borders (marginalia) and miniature illustrations. In the strictest definition, the term refers only to manuscripts decorated with either gold or silver; but in both common usage and modern scholarship, the term refers to any decorated or illustrated manuscript from Western traditions. Comparable Far Eastern and Mesoamerican works are described as painted. Islamic manuscripts may be referred to as illuminated, illustrated or painted, though using essentially the same techniques as Western works.

Jean Pucelle French artist

Jean Pucelle, active c. 1320-1350, was a Parisian Gothic-era manuscript illuminator who excelled in the invention of drolleries as well as traditional iconography. He is considered one of the best miniaturists of the early 14th century. He worked primarily under the patronage of the royal court and is believed to have been responsible for the introduction of the arte nuovo of Giotto and Duccio to Northern Gothic art. His work shows a distinct influence of the Italian trecento art Duccio is credited with creating. His style is characterized by delicate figures rendered in grisaille, accented with touches of color.

Matthew Paris English artist

Matthew Paris, known as Matthew of Paris, was a Benedictine monk, English chronicler, artist in illuminated manuscripts and cartographer, based at St Albans Abbey in Hertfordshire. He wrote a number of works, mostly historical, which he scribed and illuminated himself, typically in drawings partly coloured with watercolour washes, sometimes called "tinted drawings". Some were written in Latin, some in Anglo-Norman or French verse.

In the Low Countries a continuous tradition of grisaille paintings can be traced from Early Netherlandish painting to Martin Heemskerck, Pieter Brueghel the Elder ( Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery ) and Hendrik Goltzius, and through the copious output of Adriaen van de Venne, to the circle of Rembrandt, and Jan van Goyen.

Early Netherlandish painting Work of artists active in the Low Countries during the 15th- and 16th-century Northern Renaissance

Early Netherlandish painting is the work of artists, sometimes known as the Flemish Primitives, active in the Burgundian and Habsburg Netherlands during the 15th- and 16th-century Northern Renaissance, especially in the flourishing cities of Bruges, Ghent, Mechelen, Louvain, Tournai and Brussels, all in present-day Belgium. The period begins approximately with Robert Campin and Jan van Eyck in the 1420s and lasts at least until the death of Gerard David in 1523, although many scholars extend it to the start of the Dutch Revolt in 1566 or 1568. Early Netherlandish painting coincides with the Early and High Italian Renaissance but the early period is seen as an independent artistic evolution, separate from the Renaissance humanism that characterised developments in Italy, although beginning in the 1490s as increasing numbers of Netherlandish and other Northern painters traveled to Italy, Renaissance ideals and painting styles were incorporated into Netherlandish and other Northern painting. As a result, Early Netherlandish painters are often categorised as belonging to both the Northern Renaissance and the Late or International Gothic.

<i>Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery</i> (Bruegel) painting by Pieter Brueghel the Elder

Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery is a small panel painting in grisaille by the Netherlandish Renaissance printmaker and painter Pieter Bruegel the Elder. It is signed and dated 1565.

Hendrik Goltzius painter from the Northern Netherlands

Hendrick Goltzius was a German-born Dutch printmaker, draftsman, and painter. He was the leading Dutch engraver of the early Baroque period, or Northern Mannerism, lauded for his sophisticated technique, technical mastership and "exuberance" of his compositions. According to A. Hyatt Mayor, Goltzius "was the last professional engraver who drew with the authority of a good painter and the last who invented many pictures for others to copy". In the middle of his life he also began to produce paintings.

The ceiling frescoes of the Sistine Chapel have portions of the design in grisaille, as does the lower part of the great staircase decoration by Antonio Verrio at Hampton Court.

Fresco Mural painting upon freshly laid lime plaster

Fresco is a technique of mural painting executed upon freshly laid, or wet lime plaster. Water is used as the vehicle for the dry-powder pigment to merge with the plaster, and with the setting of the plaster, the painting becomes an integral part of the wall. The word fresco is derived from the Italian adjective fresco meaning "fresh", and may thus be contrasted with fresco-secco or secco mural painting techniques, which are applied to dried plaster, to supplement painting in fresco. The fresco technique has been employed since antiquity and is closely associated with Italian Renaissance painting.

Sistine Chapel official residence of the pope in Vatican City, known for its painted ceiling

The Sistine Chapel is a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope, in Vatican City. Originally known as the Cappella Magna, the chapel takes its name from Pope Sixtus IV, who restored it between 1477 and 1480. Since that time, the chapel has served as a place of both religious and functionary papal activity. Today it is the site of the Papal conclave, the process by which a new pope is selected. The fame of the Sistine Chapel lies mainly in the frescos that decorate the interior, and most particularly the Sistine Chapel ceiling and The Last Judgment by Michelangelo.

Antonio Verrio Italian painter

The Italian-born Antonio Verrio was responsible for introducing Baroque mural painting into England and served the Crown over a thirty-year period.

Modern examples

Grisaille, while less widespread in the 20th Century, continues as an artistic technique. Pablo Picasso's painting Guernica is one contemporary example.

Hugo Bastidas is a contemporary American painter known for black and white paintings that imitate the effect of grisaille and often resemble black and white photographs. [4] Bastidas’ paintings frequently reference architecture, water, vegetation and art history, and reflect his concern about the human condition, globalization, and their effect on the Earth’s well-being. [5] After returning to New York from a Fulbright Fellowship in his native Ecuador in the early 1990s, Bastidas began using a restricted color palette of black and white. [4] His medium- and large-scale paintings allude to black-and-white photography, and feature contrasting zones of high and low detail. [4] [6] By making thousands of marks with a size No. 1 hog's bristle brush on linen primed with rabbit-skin glue, Bastidas achieves a high level of image definition. [4] [7] He also works in digital photography, which informs his subject matter without rendering a photo-realistic effect. [8]

Academic study

With the 20th century's emphasis on direct ( alla prima ) painting, the grisaille technique lost favour with artists of the period. This historic method is still incorporated into the curriculum of some private ateliers. [9]

In enamel and stained glass

Grisaille stained glass (15th century) Magi Herod MNMA Cl23532.jpg
Grisaille stained glass (15th century)

The term is also applied to monochrome painting in other media such as enamels, where an effect similar to a relief in silver may be intended. It is common in stained glass, where the need for sections in different colours was thereby greatly reduced. Portions of a window may be done in grisaille — using, for example, silver stain or vitreous paint — while other sections are done in coloured glass.

See also

References and notes

References
Notes
  1. Chilvers, Ian (ed.), The Oxford Dictionary of Art, 3rd edition, Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 314
  2. Christie’s, Sale 1380, Old Master Paintings, lot 49, New York, Christie’s, 17 June 2004.
  3. Oxford Companion to Art. Ed. Harold Osborne; Clarendon Press. Oxford, 1970.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Carvalho, Denise (April 2008). "Hugo Bastidas at Nohra Haime". Art in America. p. 169.
  5. "Hugo Bastidas". Nohra Haime Gallery. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  6. Dawson, Jessica. "Without Hue: A Rainbow of Grays". Washington Post. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  7. Bardier, Laura. "Hugo Bastidas". Arte Al Dia. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  8. "Hugo Bastidas". Mattatuck Museum. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  9. For example, at The Contemporary Realist Academy, in Memphis, Tennessee, The Ryder Studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico and Ecole Albert Defois in France.
  10. Mims Studios School of Fine Art

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