The history of graphic art is criminally under written and often not given the respect it deserves. Taken less seriously by the western artistic canon, graphic art is often relegated to commercial or juvenile art and rarely properly addressed for the powerful storytelling and cultural history it contains. In this new series of blogs we will be looking at the history and development of graphic arts and their influence on wider culture.
Visual & Decorative Arts Blog
This week it’s the turn of our fabulous photography calendars to take to the stage. Including stunning images of our awe inspiring night sky, to intimate portraits of Hollywood’s golden age stars, and the beauty of ‘The City of Love’. Here are 10 of our best photographic 2018 wall calendars.
The nineteenth and early twentieth centuries encompassed some of the most exciting periods in the history of art. With an explosion of new styles and movements, the variety is duly reflected in our 2018 calendars. Take a look at this week’s Top 10!
With the end of the year fast approaching, we are returning with the Top 10 calendars series for 2018! This week we are taking a look at the range of gothic and fantasy art calendars. Be it sci-fi monsters or colourful unicorns, we have something up our sleeve for everyone.
In this week's Painting Techniques blog we'll be taking a look at pastel. Used mainly for portraits and occasionally landscapes, pastel is known for its vibrant range of colour and ability to blend. Its versatile nature also allows it to be mixed with other mediums to create richer pallets and textures.
What is Tempera?
Broadly speaking tempera (Italian for ‘temper’) was a process that involved some sort of binding material (other than oil). Traditionally this was egg-yolk, a substance that was also extensively used in fresco painting, but any albuminous, gelatinous or colloidal material could be mixed with pigments to achieve similar results.
The terms fresco and tempera are sometimes used as if they were synonymous, but the distinction lies not so much in the mixture but the material to which it was applied. Thus tempera is more commonly associated with the paintings on mummy cases and papyrus rolls in pharaonic Egypt, or medieval paintings on ivory or wood panels, although some wall paintings in ancient Egypt, Knossos, Mycenae and Classical Rome probably relied on this technique.
Egg-yolk, sometimes diluted by a little vinegar, was the preferred medium, though a thin glue produced by boiling animal skins was also extremely effective, while Pliny mentions milk as a binding substance. Although tempera is mainly associated with relatively small paintings executed on wood panels, the paint was not applied directly on to the wood. The surface had to be prepared and this entailed a process that was not unlike the plastering of walls, but on a much smaller scale.
Some of the most visually stunning works of art have been painted directly onto walls and ceilings. The amount of time and effort that must have gone into these pieces is reflected today in the care taken to preserve them. Understanding the history and method behind this technique can help us appreciate it even more.
So often people look at a picture – the end-product of an artist’s endeavour – for the form and content, and do not focus on the technicalities. A knowledge of the methods, techniques and materials and how they interact provides an invaluable insight into the art of different periods and styles as well as a better understanding of the individual artist.
Vincent Van Gogh – the man, the legend and the artist – has become all but lost in propagated myths and romantic visions. He is perceived as the ‘mad artist’, the man who painted in a frenzy, the tormented soul, the artist who cut off his ear – all partially true – but factors that have nonetheless suffocated the actuality of an intelligent and reasoned man.
Inspired by the RA’s new exhibition on Painting the Modern Garden, of which Monet’s stunning Garden of Giverny paintings are a big part, this blog takes a look at one of the most popular art movements: Impressionism. We put it into context – with a brief look first at Realism in France, and its move away from classical art; as well as an exploration into how it formed the roots of Post-Impressionism.