Optical principles are straightforward, but can become extremely complex in practice. Examples from Jan van Eyck to Hodler and Signac.
Before photography, the only opportunity to see your face, painters took advantage of the Venus Effect to break optical rules and show faces that couldn’t have been seen in the mirror.
Key factors making oil paint most suitable include its slow drying, wide range of viscosity, and robust paint layer. But it has its rules too.
Cameo views of landscapes were common practice during the Renaissance, and also had value in locating the primary view.
Full contents for this series, with lists of artists considered in each of its articles, and links to the articles.
Starting from Egyptian blue in ancient times, pigments preferred by painters for sky blue have changed repeatedly. Here’s a brief history.
Grisaille – grey underpainting used to set the tone for a finished work – is like underwear, waiting for richly coloured clothes to go on top. Not in these paintings, though.
Well known from language, the scarlet woman should be easy to read in paintings. But all that is scarlet isn’t who you’d expect.
From sacred symbols in a mosaic of Theodora and the Adoration of the Lamb, to roadside watering holes, and the town’s fresh water supply.
From Jan van Eyck to Caillebotte and Claus, these paintings show the view beyond an open doorway, commonly as a means of incorporating a landscape.