Tuesday, June 26, 2018

16th century art

One commentator I read said that the Spanish painters of this era took the ideas of the Italian Renaissance and then threw the kitchen sink at them. With all the iconic references (lamb and banner, robe on the infant Saint John, various elements of Mary's life, angels in the heavens, holy book) and the local references (men on horseback, landscape, clothing), why is there a monkey in the painting?

Most of my paintings are of wildlife (did get to paint the monkey, bird, and lamb in this piece but hardly the same as a wildlife painting.) The delicate flesh tones of humans are not something with which I am very familiar. How do I even tackle this?
The first step was to grab my tube of flesh tone paint. (Not sure I have even used it before.) Hmm. The color is a bit pinkish and flat. Yellow ochre, naples yellow, cadmium red, burnt umber, and raw umber were some of the additional colors used. I do appreciate how Juan de Burgunya delicately portrayed the face of Mary. At each step (cheeks, chin, eyes, forehead) I referred back to his genius.

I have to admit that when I started, this type of painting was not my favorite. It seemed too contrived. But as I have explored (you might say every inch of this piece), my appreciation has grown tremendously. The composition, the placement of detail, the reds moving throughout the piece, the action of Jesus with a bird on his fingertip, the ribbon of water, and so much more contribute to a painting I now enjoy.

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