Few studio manuals explaining the practical methods and techniques of Dutch 17th-century painters exist. Most of the learning was passed from master to apprentice in the studio (or ‘atelier’) over the course of several years of training. Most of our knowledge about painting methods from this period is gleaned from a mixture of contemporary painting techniques and scientific analyses of paintings.
The core principles of Vermeer’s painting style and technique will be revealed through a sequence of simple and logical steps:
- Applying a toned ground or imprimatura
- Making accurate measurements and proportions
- Emphasising a good sense of gesture using the dry-brush method
- Delineating light and shadow
- Creating a ‘dead colour’ layer
- Using the full palette to develop the large and medium forms of the first painting
- Rendering the smaller forms and details of the second painting or glazing (or velatura) layer
- Paying close attention to edge quality and subtle transitions
During the course, you will be shown the time-honoured techniques used to create a realistic painting in oils. You will learn how to organise your palette and mix colours, including realistic skin tones, accurately and economically. Concepts such as gesture, chiaroscuro, fat-over-lean, and different types of glazing will be explained and demonstrated.