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Historical Development of Coloured Grounds in Italian Painting from the 15th to the mid-18th Century – Present Insights and Open Questions
; University of Split, Arts Academy, The Conservation-Restoration Department, Split, Croatia
Puni tekst: engleski, pdf (2 MB)
Zagora, J. (2017). Historical Development of Coloured Grounds in Italian Painting from the 15th to the mid-18th Century – Present Insights and Open Questions. Portal : godišnjak Hrvatskoga restauratorskog zavoda, (8). doi:10.17018/portal.2017.8
Puni tekst: hrvatski, pdf (2 MB)
Zagora, J. (2017). Povijesni razvoj obojenih podloga u talijanskom slikarstvu od 15. do sredine 18. stoljeća – dosadašnje spoznaje i otvorena pitanja. Portal : godišnjak Hrvatskoga restauratorskog zavoda, (8). doi:10.17018/portal.2017.8
Aiming to set the guidelines for future research on preparations of Dalmatian paintings of Italian origin, this paper presents an overview of the historical development of coloured painting grounds in Italy from the 15th to the mid-18th century. The development of coloured painting grounds in the history of European painting is examined through art-historical, stylistic and technological parameters, such as the transition from tempera to oil painting and the introduction of canvas as the main painting ground in the 16th century. Preparations from gypsum (gesso) and chalk and glue, discovered in the earliest surviving examples of oil paintings on canvas, were a follow-up to the tradition of preparation of paintings on wood. From non-pigmented isolation layers pigmented imprimaturas were developed; however, the earliest known coloured grounds in Italian painting were preparations from gesso, with an addition of red pigment, in the works of Venetian painters of the second half of the 15th century. Imprimaturas of bright or varying colours, as well as local imprimaturas,appeared in the late 15th century in the plain of the River Po. In the following century, single-layer gesso preparations(popular in Venice) were often used for the preparation of canvases, but gesso with imprimatura was the most common primer. In the early 16th century, Correggio, Filippo da Verona, Titian and painters of the Brescia School introduced coloured preparations for canvases based on earth pigments. In the 17th century, throughout Italy, brown
preparations of various compositions were the most common ones. Red preparations of the 18th century have not been sufciently researched: despite claims of their having appeared in Bologna in the late 16th century, it was at this time that they also appeared in northern Europe, and have traditionally been linked to Venetian painting of the 18th century. How and when they originated, and what varieties there are to their composition, remains unclear. Double preparations appeared in the 16th century in the north of the Low Countries and in Flanders, from where they spread across Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. There are records of them in Italy as early as the beginning of the 17th century and in the 18th, but these are little
researched; there are records of them in Dalmatia as well. The question of binders for coloured preparations based on earth pigments in the 17th and 18th centuries, especially on paintings by Italian authors, calls for more attention. References in the literature mention mostly oil; however, judging from the experiences of Italian and Dalmatian restorers, what we are often dealing with are hydrophilic
binders. An unusual example of an underpainting used as a preparation, in fact a coloured ground of varying tone (ochre to brown), was found in Dalmatia on a painting by Venetian master Angelo Mancini from 1609. According to the author’s research so far, no similar example could
be confrmed in oil painting on canvas; this matter, however, calls for a more comprehensive study.
There is no precise division of various types of preparation from diﬀerent periods or provenances, not even within a single author’s oeuvre: many painters were changing the colour of the preparation depending on the subject matter, mood or technique of painting. We can also observe a coexistence and survival of old methods of preparation, i.e. a gradual, heterogeneous adoption of new trends. It is perhaps due to the deposits of various earth pigments in the plain between the rivers Po and Adige that brown and red preparations frst appeared and developed in the north of Italy, in this brick-built region. What is certain is that our insights will change and be supplemented with new research on painting preparations and earth pigments.
pigmented gesso; imprimatura; coloured preparations; double preparations; underpainting; painting on wood; oil painting on canvas
Hrčak ID: 192457
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