Renaissance Painting: what’s different? Secular topics, not solely religious New Colors New methods
New Colors 1. Especially in Venice, important port of trade, bringing colorants from all over the world - The Venetian Titian had larger palette 2. Symbolic value of certain expensive pigments disappears - ultramarine gets used in mixtures - vermilion is used as under-painting - gold leaf much less used
Titian Bacchus and Ariadne 1523-24 Oil on canvas Number of Hues (pigments) Greek topic
New Colors 1.Smalt -From cobalt ores in Saxony; most important to Flemish and German painters - linnaeite Co 3 S 4, -cobaltite, CoAsS, -smaltite, CoAs 2 -Though Cobalt as an element not identified until much later (1737) -Cobalt from ‘kobold’ or ‘kobelt’ = evil sprits from what mining did to miners (it) "eats away at their feet … and hands.."
New Colors 1.Copper Resinate -most generally copper salts (examples?) + plant resins (trees) also results form reaction of verdigris + resinous varnish but eventually darkens to brown: make a guess how/why? 2. Blue vs green verditers synthetic azurite/malachite, but colors difficult to control. Compare formulae: " basic- copper - carbonates" Azurite: Cu 3 (CO 3 ) 2 (OH) 2 Malachite: Cu 2 (CO 3 ) (OH) 2, Azurite naturally changes to malachite; accelerated by water: 2 Cu 3 (CO 3 ) 2 (OH) 2 + H 2 O 3 Cu 2 (CO 3 ) (OH) 2 + CO 2
New Colors 3. Red lakes: more valuable now than synthetic vermilion coccineal (to make carmine) and brazilwood dyes sources, both from New World 4. Yellows Gamboge – a tree sap (Vietnamese); toxic and poor lightfastness; especially in watercolor Indian Yellow – cow cruelty in India Both are no longer available
New Methods Oil media -over tempera as glaze or alone, on wood and on canvas Canvas - Venice leads canvas use as offshoot to sails made for ship-building another example: Art evolution tied to larger culture BIG CHANGES because: 1. Hues obtained differently because pigments behaved differently. -So Ultramarine is very dark in oil and must be lightened with white 2. Oil coats pigments prevents reactions that used to prohibit mixing two pigments; pigments can be mixed of glazed Examples of lakes glazed over grounds to produce desired hue: Yellow + Black greens Red + black purple-blues 3. Moratorium on mixing pigments dropped
Cima da Conegliano Incredulity of Thomas (cleaned and restored) 1504
Renaissance: The Age of Reason ‘Class Wars’: painters ≠ artists similar to: alchemists ≠ scientists Why? The manual arts were of lower rank than academic, intellectual fields The “Good” Liberals Arts: poetry, music, rhetoric, geometry were worthy of study at universities UNLIKE painting whose craft was passed along in ateliers, shops, as apprentices
Leonardo da Vinci: worked to change low status of painting His motivation was to heighten painting to the other liberal arts His study of mathematics had the aim of understanding the mathematics of nature: Nature’s forms. And this was so to be able to better paint "true to Nature".
Leonardo da Vinci Mastering mathematics is good ….
In general, reason, geometry and math were quite alive among those whose hearts were in art because artists realized the path to climb the social ladder was to: - embrace abstract thought and reason and - discard and distain efforts put the material aspects and skills of painting. Thus in the Italian school, they had ideas of a fundamental division of art into line and color, disegno and colore. And disegno was esteemed way above color.
In the Age of Reason, the elite attempted to be grounded in reason and leave symbolism. THIS is when alchemy veers away from the spiritual towards reason Is this the origin of science and spirit split ?? As a result: -high art painting leaves color for line -art becomes aligned with mathematics so perspective becomes important. - art move away from religious subjects to nature and problems of reproducing it in 2-d, as well as finding appropriate colors. Ball: " By end of the 15 th century, they had largely won their battle, but at the cost of simply reinforcing the bigotry that they inherited from classical times. Nowhere does Leonardo challenge the underlying hierarchy that values the intellectual over the manual.” He also ignored the chemical / material aspects of his art. Art fragmented into the "pure" and the "applied". Or, Art and Technology
Quentin Metsys 1465/6-1530 The Banker and his Wife 1514 Mirror “reflects” interest in optics
“The definitive polymath, he had almost too many gifts, including superlative male beauty, a splendid singing voice, magnificent physique, mathematical excellence, scientific daring... the list is endless. This overabundance of talents caused him to treat his artistry lightly, seldom finishing a picture, and sometimes making rash technical experiments. The Last Supper, in the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, for example, has almost vanished, so inadequate were his innovations in fresco preparation." So what’s the result when you reject and discard the manual skills, and the art and knowledge of materials? Ah, Leonardo …
Leonardo da Vinci The Last Supper (after cleaning, 1498) tempera on plaster … if you neglect to “know your materials…”
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci, known as Leonardo da Vinci 1452-1519 The Virgin and Child with St. Anne c. 1510 Wood