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  #31  
Old 12-08-08, 01:47 PM
Alessandra Kelley Alessandra Kelley is offline
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I understand "carbon black" to be roughly equivalent to "lamp black", the soot collected from burning oil. It's a very nasty color, resists wetting a lot (residual hydrocarbons?) and seems to make any color mixture look grimy. It gets a film of superfine sooty grime on the top of its storage water.

Genuine "ivory black" is hard to come by, as it's made from burning ivory. "Bone black", made from burning bones, is more common. Both are less gross than lamp black. They mix okay with water. I've never tried peach pit black.

Have you considered grinding up drawing charcoal into pigment for a sort of homemade "vine black"?

I find it hard to believe that Raphael used coal to paint with. It's not exactly an ingredient that lends itself to painting. Was this the result of modern chemical analysis? I ask only because from the eighteenth century on there was a lot of bizarre amateur scholarship trying to find the "secrets" that made old master paintings so well constructed compared to then-modern works. There are at least two centuries of art theory with elaborate conspiracies of secret mixtures and mediums written by non-artists and dabblers. So unless that coal claim is a recent one, backed by scientific verification, I'd treat it with great skepticism.
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  #32  
Old 13-08-08, 09:04 AM
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jpohl jpohl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alessandra Kelley View Post
I understand "carbon black" to be roughly equivalent to "lamp black", the soot collected from burning oil. It's a very nasty color, resists wetting a lot (residual hydrocarbons?) and seems to make any color mixture look grimy. It gets a film of superfine sooty grime on the top of its storage water.

Genuine "ivory black" is hard to come by, as it's made from burning ivory. "Bone black", made from burning bones, is more common. Both are less gross than lamp black. They mix okay with water. I've never tried peach pit black.

Have you considered grinding up drawing charcoal into pigment for a sort of homemade "vine black"?

I find it hard to believe that Raphael used coal to paint with. It's not exactly an ingredient that lends itself to painting. Was this the result of modern chemical analysis? I ask only because from the eighteenth century on there was a lot of bizarre amateur scholarship trying to find the "secrets" that made old master paintings so well constructed compared to then-modern works. There are at least two centuries of art theory with elaborate conspiracies of secret mixtures and mediums written by non-artists and dabblers. So unless that coal claim is a recent one, backed by scientific verification, I'd treat it with great skepticism.
Yes... i'm pretty sure I read about the coal in article linked above published by the national gallery, but it was only a small amount and perhaps only in one piece if my memory is correct. Perhaps it was a wayward assistant. (-: just kidding... there may have even been some experimentation or some other reason. Many master pieces have not come down to us intact, with the use of unstable pigments like madder. Granted some artist's like Leonardo were more experimental than others.

Perhaps I should have made vine black instead of grape jelly when we had grape vines some years ago... Vermeer only used ivory or bone in touches and mostly charcoal so it may be worth experimenting with. I'll have to see how things work out in some test squares when i have all my pigments gathered from the corners of the world. (Hopefully before the snow hits.)


If anyone is looking into the flemish technique or considering the various ways of doing an underpainting, there is a nicely written sample chapter from the book by the EssentialVermeer webmaster and author free for download that may be of interest. A short quote:

Quote:
Dead-coloring was once so important in the painting process that it was mandatory in early days of Flemish painting. In 1546, in the ‘s Hertogenbosch guild rules there appears the following regulation: “7. item. All painters will be bound to work with good paints, and they will not make any paintings than on good dry oak planks or wainscot, being each color first dead-colored and this on a double ground…”est.
I came across a lot of little gems. Perhaps I should post this elsewhere, but Janson also mentioned an unfinished egg tempera by Michaelangelo which I found on the National Gallery website. It is possible to zoom in and see the underpainting, use of green earth, and hatching in the drapery at different stages of development. Forgive me if I'm the only one who didn't know about this. I had to share... it's so amazing to see.

http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/cg...rkNumber=NG809

p.s. I may have been wrong about the number of Vermeer's children. I was sure I heard there were fifteen in a documentary the other day, but there are 11 recorded on Janson's website.

Last edited by jpohl; 13-08-08 at 09:14 AM.
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  #33  
Old 14-08-08, 09:32 PM
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I think I remember reading that Raphael also used a type of coal in a few instances...


p.s. Many people (especially those in England) may have already know there has been some discussion as to whether one of the pieces in the technical bulletin, La Madonna dei Garofani or the Madonna in the Pinks was done by Raphael. Perhaps it is an very early work or an experimental piece that is far from the best of his mature work, but the colours are still quite beautiful and there are lovely touches. Maybe the models wouldn't sit still, or it could be a tribute piece by another artist... but I won't dare to hazard a guess. If the painting could be dated perhaps the debate would be resolved, as one critic seem to think it may have been done much later.

Raphael was orphaned quite young, and I wonder if it is part of the reason his images of the Madonna and Child are so often so tender.

cheers, jp.
I just found out a little more information on this painting again thanks to the National Gallery. It is an interpretation of a work by Leonardo Da Vinci:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benois_Madonna
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  #34  
Old 16-08-08, 02:31 AM
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I'd have to disagree with you Alessandra about lamp black. Perhaps you have only had a chance to use a poor quality batch. I made it according to Cennini's recipe and it had none of the failures you mentioned. It wets well and it is definitely not grimey, mixing well with other colours. I can see that if it is made from an impure oil that it may have lots of different burn products in it that may ruin it. (I'm sounding like a lamp black fanatic I think so I'll give it a rest from now on :)

Thanks Jennifer, you've pointed me to some very helpful sources. You must be the most well read ET poster I have come across.
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  #35  
Old 16-08-08, 04:26 AM
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Salamander Salamander is offline
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Jennifer,
Here is a link to a pigment resource info book..... I haven't read it but seen excerpts. It seems noteworthy. >http://books.google.com/books?id=TKF...result#PPP1,M1
Is coal black the same (more or less ) as asphaltum 'black'? If so this is a beautiful yellow-black. I will also add that it is a suspect pigment in the oil painting circles as far as longevity and permanence. I know ET is different bit I don't think that different.
As a note, I added Da Vinci 'asphaltum' oil paint to a bees wax furniture finish to receive a very nice warm finish on a coffee table.
Best -E-in-O-
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  #36  
Old 22-09-08, 07:57 AM
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Dimitris C. Milionis Dimitris C. Milionis is offline
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Ivory black was obtained from elephant tusks in the 18-19th cen.

There is a lot of Ivory black on the world market, and I dought that its from bones only.
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