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Techniques for Emulating Textiles: Gold and its Alternatives

16 to Adult

Throughout the ages, artists have come up with a variety of techniques to emulate the elaborate designs and embellishments found on textiles worn by religious and civic figures of great importance. These costly fabrics often incorporated gold threads and designs. Painters often used gold leaf or simulated gold threads found on expensive fabrics with illusionistic painting techniques. Examples of the use of gold leaf can be found in Giotto’s Madonna and Child, The Creation of Eve by Maestro Bartolomé, and Madonna and Child by Taddeo di Bartolo. In this lesson participants will learn to recreate these textiles using mordant gilding and sgraffito.  These techniques will also be contrasted with approaches used by northern oil painters of the 15th and 16th centuries.

Golden Textiles - 16-Adult Lesson Plan

What Lies Beneath: Techniques used for Underdrawing

16 to Adult

The underdrawings found throughout The Altarpiece of Ciudad Rodrigo attests to the fact that many different hands were involved in its creation.  Infrared reflectography is a useful tool that can reveal both preliminary sketches in addition to compositional changes.  Artists would either plan their composition on a temporary cartoon (later transfering the design onto the panel) or apply the underdrawing directly on the prepared support making changes when necessary. In this lesson, participants will learn about the various methods and styles used by the painters of the Ciudad Rodrigo Altarpiece and create their own underdrawings emulating these techniques.  

What Lies Beneath - 16-Adult Lesson Plan

Cochineal Red: At the Intersection of Cloth and Paint

Delve into the origins of the family nickname “Tintoretto” (“the little dyer”) for the Robusti family of cloth dyers and Renaissance painters by getting hands-on experience with cochineal red. This lesson teaches the history and chemistry of pigments to college students interested in studio art, art conservation, and art history.

Cochineal Red - College level Lesson plan

Color Theory and the Venetian School

Painters of the Venetian school were known for their understanding and manipulation of color. Structural analysis of paintings by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, El Greco, and Tintoretto reveal layers of colors that were glazed, scumbled, balanced, and juxtaposed to achieve a variety of effects. Apply the principles of color theory to works of the Venetian school by observing the relative contrast of various paint mixtures applied over colored grounds and copying a portion of a painting. This lesson teaches the technical art history and theory of color to college students interested in studio art, art conservation, and art history.

Color Theory and Venetain School - College Level Lesson

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  • The Department of Art Conservation
  • 303 Old College
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-3489