The technology of pictorial materials and the technique of painting have a history of development.
The technology of picturesque materials is engaged in studying the picturesque and technical properties of materials, methods of preparation and the most appropriate application of them in painting.
In his work, the artist uses certain materials: oil paints, gouache, tempera, wax, watercolor and others. Depending on these materials and distinguish types of paintings: oil painting, tempera, gouache, encaustic, watercolor, etc. Knowledge of materials and technology makes it possible for artists to more fully and diversely perform picturesque tasks.
The manner of writing old masters was significantly different from the modern one, just as the materials used by them differed from modern materials.
Data analysis and written sources, on the basis of which we study the technique of the past, can not give accurate information about the writing system, pigments and binders used.
The study of these issues is complicated by the fact that the binding agents of paints (oils and resins) have changed their composition and physico-chemical properties so much during the aging process that their initial qualities almost do not lend themselves to investigation.
Therefore, it is very difficult for researchers of ancient painting techniques to give a comprehensive and valid conclusion on the system of writing and the materials used at the time.
Painting in the period of the primitive communal system at first was a flat coloring of household utensils, weapons, etc., and only later, at a higher level of culture, there appeared models, stitching and transitions of tone.
In ancient times, painters used the simplest materials of natural origin, for example, natural colors (ocher, sienna, umbra, etc.), vegetable decoctions and juices were used as colorants.
Old Russian painters used cinnabar, blackened cloth, lapis lazuli, krutik, yary-medyanku, bakan, ocher, etc.
Cinnabar is the oldest coloring substance used in almost all forms of antiquity, thanks to the beautiful and bright tone of the paint and the relatively simple technology of preparation.
Back in the old days, large deposits of natural cinnabar were known on the territory of the present Dnepropetrovsk region (near the village of Nikitovka).
The technology of production of natural cinnabar consisted of sorting and selecting clean paint from ore and grinding it by grinding water on granite or marble slabs. (A thin grime gives this paint a more vivid and intense tone.)
Russian craftsmen also knew how to make artificial cinnabar. The manuscripts of the 15th century contain the formulation and description of the process of cinnabar preparation:
1 part of mercury is washed with 2 parts of sulfur, the resulting mixture of black is heated in a closed vessel. Mountain cinnabar was exported to other countries.
For the preparation of blue paint, the painters of ancient Russia used mineral-lapis lazuli.
Lapis lazuli in the form of a blue stone is very rare. Its deposits are in Central Asia in Badashkhan.
This paint was very appreciated and was considered in the old days the best blue paint, thanks to its beautiful tone and excellent light fastness. It was used by icon painters, and miniatures were also written in books.
As a blue paint, Russian painters used to use a twist for a long time, which was obtained from a local krutik plant in the south of Russia.
Krutik instead of indigo was widely used in easel painting and book-miniature writing.
At the beginning of the XVIII century in Russia, a production of paint colors of Berlin azure, carmine and a bucket. Raw materials for the production of paint colors of Berlin azure in Russian plants were: bovine blood, potash and saltpetre. According to the testimony of the painters of the time, these paints not only did not concede, but surpassed the colors that were produced in the West.
It is known, for example, that Russian paints were exported to Holland. Paint green, the so-called yary-medyanku Russian masters were prepared from copper filings and vinegar or cottage cheese. Applied it in various types of painting, except for the fresco, mainly in a mixture with white and bakans and as a siccative substance in the cooking of varnish.
In the Novgorod manuscript of the 17th century, a description is given of the method of obtaining yari: copper filings and sorrows were poured with water and stood for 10-15 days, then the peas were grinded and left with copper in a warm place, as a result of the action of starch fermentation products, copper or greens were obtained for copper.
In 1718 Pavel Vasiliev made a paint of the Bakan in quality higher than the foreign one (which, for example, was testified by the master foreigner Heinrich Briikorst).
The beans were obtained from the dyes present in the plants by precipitation with water and aluminum or tin salts.
To extract the colorant, the well dried and shredded stem or roots of the plant were boiled with water, then aluminum alum or tin chlorium compound was added to the filtered solution.
As a result, the dye entered into a connection with the basic salts and was planted on fillers with the formation of farnblok
(Varnish paint). Paints were also obtained from plants in the form of extracts.
Bakans used a variety of shades, but mostly cherry red color, they painted icons and colored in gold and silver.
In the XVIII century, they began to apply the paint from the roots of the perennial plant of madder harvested in Kizlyar.
The main coloring matter contained in the roots of the madder is alizarin, now obtained artificially from coal.
Of the red pigments in olden times, Russia also used blackberries.
The dill was obtained from a dyed insect collected in July in the south, mainly near the roots of strawberries.
The dyed insect was cleaned and dried in an oven at a low temperature.
Subsequently, natural colors of red color were also called black ink.
The wax was used to produce toned soils and when painting a dark paint.
Since the XVIII century, thanks to the development of chemistry and the chemical industry, a number of valuable paints for painting have been artificially produced. The condensed oil in a mixture with resins and essential oils quickly dried up even in the shade, gave shine and transparency and made it easy to model the shape. Thus, a binder was prepared, which in comparison with tempera had a number of valuable qualities.
The technique of oil painting gradually began to displace the tempera, as with oil paints it is easy to achieve fine modeling and optical effects by the action of underlying color layers.
In contrast to the tempera in oil painting, it is possible to apply both coatings and coating paints simultaneously.
After drying, the oil paint has almost the same tone as in the fresh form.
In connection with the use of a new type of binder, the main constituent of which was oil, certain writing techniques were also developed.
First of all, a white, gluey primer was prepared, well ground and almost impenetrable for the binder.
Separately, a drawing was made on the cardboard, which was transferred to a white soil, the drawing was first outlined, and then it was mainly browned off with a brown oil-based transparent paint through which the soil showed through.
After the paints dried, the painting was prepared in so-called “dead tones”, i.e., with low-intensity, cold shades of paints, applying them in a thin layer to use the translucence of the white base,
Then this preparatory layer was also allowed to dry well, and then proceeded to the final part of the work – to applying transparent and semitransparent glazes.
If the drawing was done with tempera, it was first covered with a thin layer of glue, and then varnish with a little oil, then continued to paint with oil paints.
Painting was usually conducted in parts: that is, at first one part of the picture was completely finished, then proceeded to another.
This system had a number of positive sides. When the painting is executed with a brush, a natural transition to painting occurs in the same material, i.e. with paints blurred on the same binding substance.
Full tonal pattern in one color with a sufficiently detailed development of the sides facilitates the subsequent letter.
Finally, the ground and all layers of painting take part in creating the color of the picture, which allows for a significant painting in the sense of its tonality.
Later this technique of oil painting changed a little. Instead of white soils, colored ones were used: dark, brown, reddish-brown, etc. After completing the drawing, the lights painted pasty in the color of nature, in semitones left unprinted toned soil.
This preparation was well dried and then applied to the glaze, applying thick varnishes in a mixture with a small amount of paint.
Exploring the technique of painting great masters, it should be noted that when constructing a colorful layer of the picture, they observed the technical methods of writing, the most appropriate for solving one or another of the picturesque tasks.
This does not mean that a general rule has been established, for it is quite clear that each artist had his own manner and method of writing, characteristic of his work.
When describing the technique of painting old masters, it should be noted that no author can claim the full plausibility of the presentation of the essence of techniques and writing systems, since their evidence is mainly based on written sources and opinions of various researchers and restorers, often not sufficiently reliable and contradictory among themselves . The details of the work of the old masters and the subtlety of making them picturesque materials remain for us not yet clear.
Rubens wrote on canvas and on a tree, using a light gray primer, applying it subsequently as the main tone about the picture. On the tree he covered the ground with golden paint, also using the optical properties of the color of the ground. Rubens adhered to the method of thin, smooth and transparent writing, using, as many researchers of his painting technique believe, paints worn on well-processed oil with the addition of resins.
On unfinished paintings one can see the process of his work: the drawing was subtly ghosted with a transparent brown paint, after which the same color was applied to the black and shade of the underpaints, preserving the translucence of the soil. After that, the painting was conducted in local tones, and then on dry preparation, scribbles and corpuscular final lights were applied. The main rule was Rubens; Shadows are easy to write, in the form of grouts, so as not to drown out the transparency and warmth of shadows; In light it is possible to strengthen the shell and the thickness of the layer. “Each paint must be applied clean to its place, then to lightly move the brush and to finish this preparation pass confident smears.
Rembrandt used a gray primer, drawing and podmalevok brown transparent paint, and then, on dry preparation, he put and finished the painting with ice. Rembrandt’s painting technique is based on the correct choice of the ground tone and the transparency of the chiaroscuro. To better achieve the light effect, he attenuated the bright colors and left a small amount of color shades, illuminating a small part of the picture.
Rembrandt wrote very pathetic: the brightest lights are overloaded with paint. Unlike Rubens, he had the colors not one near the other, but he put one on top of the other. Viscosity of paints indicates the use of varnishes, as many believe, mastic, sandarachnogo and amber.
Levitsky often applied a primer of neutral green tone, which was a semitone, i.e., the basis for the light-and-shade preparation of the picture. Light, he stood in additional colors (red and pink) and on dry oil podmalevku deposited glazing, reaching them the effects of Rubens. Smooth and merged color layer in Levitsky’s paintings indicates the use of lacquers in the process of writing.
Bryullov wrote often on soils of warm tone. On some unfinished sketches you can see a thin pattern, filled with a soft brush with a light brown transparent oil paint and painted with grisaille.
Warm shadows and cold halftones – the manner of writing Briullov.
Alexander Ivanov painted a lot of etudes with oil paints on paper. Grunt, he tinted light ocher. The great painter for the first time masterfully applied “illuminated” illumination in painting and instead of the yellow academic semitone – white, enlivening it with various cold reflexes.
Repin wrote on the white soils of factory production. At first he painted a drawing with a brush and gradually prescribed the picture in parts. Then, after drying, he finished with ice. Repin perfectly knew the optical properties of paints. In the process of using paint, after removing from them an excess of oil, and added a varnish, mostly mastic.
In conclusion, it should be pointed out that the best traditions of painting techniques in Western Europe are retained no more than until the end of the 17th century. Since this time, the technique of Western painting begins to decline. Emulsion and glue primers are replaced with oil, tinted – dark paints; Painting is performed on these soils without underpainting and preliminary preparation. Lissirovkami almost do not use, resin is used very rarely. All these irrational methods have had a detrimental effect on the state of the works of art. In this connection, it is necessary to note the great successes achieved by the Russian scientist prof. Petrushevsky in the development of problematic techniques of painting. Prof. Petrushevsky at the end of the XIX century established for the first time the dependence of the change in the volume of oils during the drying and curing of paints on the quality of pigments and determined in this connection the causes of the cracking of the paint layer of the picture.
For a long time our country was forced to import pictures from abroad.
At present, the situation has changed dramatically: art paints in the USSR are produced by enterprises that did not exist in tsarist Russia. Now there are all conditions for the flourishing of the national paint and varnish industry and the production of products that significantly exceed the quality of foreign companies’ products.
By decision of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, in 1947 the Academy of Arts of the USSR was established. Considering that work in the field of painting materials technology is of great importance in the further development of Soviet painting, the Laboratory of Painting Materials Technology is organized under the Academy, which sets the task:
1. Improve the quality of pictorial materials and technical methods of writing (in the process of working on a picture) in order to create a long-term preservation and maximum lightfastness of works of art.
2. Studying the properties of various materials used in painting, sculpture and graphics.
3. Investigation of the aging processes of artistic paints and changes in individual compounds that make up binders and varnishes; The causes of stiffness, discoloration, cracking and sagging of the paint layer, and the search for ways to eliminate these drawbacks.
4. The establishment of systematic verification and testing of the picturesque and technical properties of art materials produced by enterprises of our country.
5. The introduction of the achievements of research obtained in the practice of painters.
The successful work of this laboratory will play a role in furthering the rise of Soviet pictorial art.