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in the Original Texts with English Translations of
Mrs. Mary P. Merrifield's Medieval and Renaissance
Treatises on the Arts of Painting
it is revealed that
Painter's Chroniclers such as Vasari mention that Great Masters
viz., Bellino, Rubens & Titian employed the method of
chiaroscuro using grey for preparation to paint the flesh tints
when the chiaroscuro had been painted with black, but that
when the chiaroscuro was of a rich brown, it was necessary to
interpose grey tints between the shades and flesh tints.  Often,
when the flesh tints were made more rosy than nature, the flesh
tints were laid on very thinly.  The order was to begin with the
lights then proceed gradually into the shades with deeper and
redder tints.  Vasari also mentions that Pietro Perugino had laid
three coats of color on some Paintings in the Church of the
Servi at Florence.  Vasari mentions this incidentally and
certainly doesn't mean to imply that the number of coats of
color were limited to three.  Titian is said to have repeated his
colors nine or ten times; the same has been said of Correggio.  
Some sources even report that Lely said he believed Vandyck
had painted over a Portrait fourteen times.
Since the white ground of the canvas can be seen through such
thin glazes, this is a method of Painting which keeps the flesh
light and clear ~*
This method of Painting involves the use of asphaltum, mummy
and the smoke of pece Greca to generate the depths and
transparencies of the shadows.  It appears to have been
followed by the Florentine, the Roman, The Lombard, the early
Bolognese and the early Venetian schools.  It is known that
Titian's earliest Pictures were Painted in this manner, and the
process may be seen on some unfinished Paintings by Rubens,
Vandyck, Fra Bartolomeo and others.  The beauty of this
method of Painting is in its transparency, every color laid so
thin as to show those laid beneath.  
It should be noted that the most perfect Drawing is necessary
when Paintings are carried out in this manner, because the lines
and shades of the Drawing will be visible where only light tints
are laid over and this will cause the color to appear opaque.
An unfinished Painting by Lionardo Da Vinci in the Gallery of
Brera shows that it was not always customary to complete the
chiaroscuro before beginning the Painting.  In this Painting,
some parts of Picture are finished, or nearly so, while other
parts of the ground are left white.  
the Great Master Lionardo mentions this technique in his
Trattato Della Pittura.
Vasari shows that the black used by Lionardo was the lamp
black used by the Printers, and ivory black.
Maestro Lionardo , in his Precept for the Painter ( # 352): Of the
Judgment to be made of a Painter's Work, directly refers to this
method of Painting:
{ The first thing to be considered is, whether the  figures have
their proper relief, according to their respective situations, and
the light they are in: that the shadows be not the same at the
extremities of the groups, as in the middle; because being
surround by shadows, or shaded only on one side, produces
very different effects.  The groups in the middle are surrounded
by shadows from the other figures, which are between them and
the light.  Those which are at the extremitites have the shadows
only on one side, and receive the light on the other.  The
strongest and smartest touches of shadows are to be in the
interstice between the figures of the principal group where the
light cannot penetrate ~* }
Thank you, each and every one, for visiting
Yvette's and
Sleuthing, with me, the Mysteries of Portrait Painting ~*
one Mystery of Portrait Painting is figuring out how to do it in
the first place ~*
Perhaps another Mystery of Portrait Painting has something to
do with excellence in the Human Form; or perhaps honor for the
efforts of all Noble Human Endeavor ~*
it's just so easy to feel that there is some underlying message
contained in the Mysterious Mystique of Oil Portraits from Ages
gone by ~*
maybe the age of the Portraits themselves is a Mystery ?
Whatever the Mysteries are, we shall continue, as time carries
us through the days and nights of our lives, to pursue together
the Secret Coded Encrypted Ciphered Messages left to us by the
Great Master Portrait Painters of Ancient Times, Medieval &
Renaissance ~*
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