A Closer Look at Art | Techniques of Painting

Learn more about key concepts in Western European art history and gain further insight into the paintings and artists showcased in the National Gallery, London collection with our A Closer Look at Art campaign.

Each week we will be sharing an extract from an A Closer Look guide that explores a foundational subject or theme in painting, from landscapes to portraiture, along with links to free National Gallery, London resources so that you can discover even more about the artwork and artists you are introduced to.

Week 5: Techniques of Painting

Building on the more technical elements of art history introduced in week 4, this week we’re exploring the importance of an artist’s materials and the evolution of paint and pigment. In this extract from A Closer Look: Techniques of Painting, Jo Kirby explains how important colours such as the highly-prized ‘deep blue ultramarine’ were sourced and the ways in which artists had to prepare different materials like egg tempera, watercolour and oil paint.

Read this extract on issuu here.

Additional Resources & Further Reading from The National Gallery, London

Additional Resources
Gold in Paintings | Gold (YouTube)
Making Green: Tempera vs Oil (YouTube)
Making Purple: The Science of Art (YouTube)
Vincent van Gogh: The Colour and Vitality of his Works (YouTube)
Malachite in Art | Why This Paint Didn’t Last 500 Years (YouTube)

Further Reading
A Closer Look: Techniques of Painting by Jo Kirby
A Closer Look: Colour by David Bomford & Ashok Roy
A Closer Look: Conservation of Paintings by David Bomford, Jill Dunkerton & Martin Wyld

Further Reading from Yale University Press

An Introduction to Art by Charles Harrison
Interaction of Color by Josef Albers & Nicholas Fox Weber

Blog Featured Image: Vincent van Gogh, 1853–1890. A Wheatfield, with Cypresses, 1889 © The National Gallery, London.

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