The painting

The painting is the most expressive visual arts: indeed, the sculpture only makes the shape, while painting can translate all the conceptions of the mind through all the realities of the kind or of the imagination , represented on a smooth surface, in their shapes and colors.
From a technical point of view, a painting is conventionally made up of three elements-:color, support and intermediate plaster. The colors are classified into four categories: vegetable, animal and mineral colors, and finally charcoals. Many of them are altered by the effect of light or by chemical reactions resulting from their mixture. The colors derived from aniline must, for this reason, be excluded without exception. Any solid material can be used as a support for painting: stone, wood, metals,ivory, tanned skins, canvas, paper, fabrics,earthenware. The support plays a purely passive role. The intermediate coating is, on the contrary, of capital importance: the indefinite conservation of a painting or its rapid deterioration depend on its nature and its quality.

The colors crushed with water are spread over a fresh sand and lime mortar ( fresco ); in these same colors we can incorporate, as we paint, skin glue ( tempera ), wax made miscible with water by the presence of lime ( wax paint ), yellow d ‘ eggs emulsified in cold water and mixed with resin (egg paint). The watercolor colors , ground with erased water, are applied directly to the support. For oil painting, the support (canvas or panel) is glued with skin glue, then garnished with a layer of white lead. The colors, crushed with a small quantity of carnation oil, should only be applied to this plaster when it is perfectly dry.

The execution procedures are, in principle, not subject to any rule. The hemp canvas, well stretched, is placed on an easel. The colors , all prepared, are enclosed in tin tubes. The artist arranges them in the order he likes around the rim of his palette, the medium remaining reserved for the various mixtures he will make, before placing them on the canvas using round brushes, flat paintbrushes or brushes, sometimes a small trowel or palette knife. Two operations precede the final work and guide its execution: the sketch, summary reduction of the paintingto paint, where the artist fixes the arrangement and the general effect; the studies or cartoons, where he stops separately the important details. By transferring these studies to the canvas, either by decals or by squaring, he proceeds to set up his composition. He performs the drawing, to his rough or detailed taste, either using charcoal (which he will have to fix before painting so as not to soil his tones), or with a brush, with a diluted color. He then begins to paint: by smear, when he covers his canvas with a light layer applied dry; by impasto or in full paste, when it loads it with a thick material and of solid aspect; by glazing, when he superimposes a layer of transparent and very diluted color on a dry color. To obtain broken tones, he mixes frank tones on his palette, or juxtaposes them on the canvas, thus producing an optical mixture, the effect of which, brutal when viewed up close, takes on a precious intensity in decorative art from a distance. The variety of effects results from the simultaneous and intelligent use of these various methods.

Once the paint is completely dry, it is varnished, if necessary, to remove any cloudiness and restore the tones to their true value. The variety of materials and manipulations used in oil paintingis the dangerous side of this process, the most perfect as an immediate result. The resins of the varnishes turn yellow. The bitumen, which never dries, blackens and cracks the pastes with which it is covered; the work of the colors modifies their aspect, and makes reappear the tones of the deep layers through the superficial layers, in the form of spots which one calls repentances. The watercolorist has more limited resources, because he can only use transparent colors and the white of the paper is the culmination of his luminous effect; but his work is, as a preservation, very solid. This is the watercolor that painted silks, lint, etc., adding to the water a light bite.earthenware , metal oxides are the only ones that can be used. They are diluted in gasoline and subjected, the work once finished, to a firing which incorporates them into the enamel of the support, subjecting them to changes of tone which the artist must take into account when painting. This painting is, in short, the only one to which the word “unalterable” applies rigorously.


The knowledge of the painter are drawing , the anatomy , the perspective linear, aerial perspective and chiaroscuro . To achieve the effects he aspires to, he needs invention, the science of composition, and great practice, ie. everything related to execution, to the work of the hand. We must also take great care in the grinding and composition of the colors , in the preparation of the material on which these colors will be applied. Some painters prepare on the palette, before painting, the tints that are necessary for them: others do them with the brush as and when they need, which produces more variety in the color.
From the point of view of the material execution, the processes and the materials that it implements, the art of painting is subdivided into several specialties, which are:

the oil-painting , the paint mural painting with the tempera , paint polish painting with watercolors , the wash painting with tempera , paint pastel , to the wax , painting in miniature , painting in shades in mosaic ;
Compared to the materials on which we paint, we distinguish:
the mural , on wood , on canvas, ivory , on enamel , on porcelain , on glass , etc.
With regard to the subjects represented, we distinguish:
the history painting (representation of historical or mythological episodes), of battles , paint portraits or nudes , genre painting (paint familiar scenes), painting landscapes or marine ; painting of animals , flowers , painting of still life ; decorative painting , arabesques , grotesques . (L.).

In the library . – Théophile, Schedula diversarum artium , Paris, 1843, in-8 °; L.-B. Alberti , De pictura, Basel, 1516, in-8 °; Robert Fludd , Tractatus de arte picturae, Frankfurt, 1624, in-fol .; J. Scheffer, Graphica, id est de arte pingendi, Nuremberg, 1669; A.-F. Doni, Il Disegno, Venice, 1549, in-8 °; Lomazzo, Trattato dell ‘arte della pittura, Milan, 1585, in-4 °; Leonardo da Vinci , Trattato delta pittura , trad. in French by Fréart de Chambray , 1651, 1716 and 1724; Algarotti , Saggio sopra la pittura,traduct. in French by Pingeron, Paris, 1769, in-12; Roger de Piles, Course of painting by principles, Paris, 1708 and 1720, in-12; Watelet, The Art of Painting, 1760, in-4 °; Liotard, Treaty of the principles and rules of painting, Geneva, 1781, in-8 °; Gérard de Lairesse , The Big Book of Painters , Paris, 1787, 2 vols. in-8 °; Richardson, Treatise on Painting , transl. from English by Rutgers, Amsterdam, 1728, 3 vols. in-8 °; Reynolds , Discourse on Painting , traduct. from English by Janssen, 1188 and 1806, 2 vols. in-8 °; Hagedorn, Reflections on painting, traduct. from the German By Huber, Leipzig, 1775, in-8 °; l’Abbé de Marsy , Abridged Dictionary of Painting and Architecture , Anise, 1746, 2 vol. in-8 °; Pernetty, Dictionary of painting, sculpture and engraving , Paris, 1757, in-8 ° Watelet et Lévesque, Dictionary of painting, sculpture and engraving , Paris, 1792, 5 vol. in-8 °; Paillot de Montabert, Complete Treatise on Painting , 1828-1851, 9 vols. in-8 ° and atlas.
For the history of painting: Bulenger, De Pictura, plastice et staluaria veterum , Leyden, 1627, in-8 °; Bellori , Della Pittura antica , Venice, 1697; Junius, De Pictura Veterum , treatise published by Graevius, Rotterdam, 1694; Durand, History of Ancient Painting , London, 1725; Turnbull, Treatise on Ancient Painting , in English, London, 1740; Requeno, Saggi sul ristabilimento dell’antica arte de Grecie de ‘Romani pittori , Parma, 1787, in-4 °; Letronne, Letters from an antiquarian to an artist on the use of historical mural painting in the decoration of temples among the Greeks and Romans, Paris, 1836, in-8 °; Raoul-Rochette, Unpublished antique paintings , Paris, 1836, in-4 °; Vasari , Vite de più excellenti pittori, Florence, 1550, translated into French by Jeanson and Léclanché, Paris, 1840, 10 vol. in-8 °; Dati, Vite de ‘pittori antichi , Florence, 1667, in-4 °; Dezallier d’Argenville, Summary of the life of the most famous painters , Paris, 1762, 4 vol, in-8 °; Séroux d’Agincourt , History of art through monuments , 1809-23, 6 vols. in-fol .; Denon , Monuments of the drawing arts among ancient and modern peoples , 1809, 4 vol. in-fol .; Ch. Blanc, History of painters of all schools, from the Renaissance to the present day , Paris, 1849-62 gr. in-4 °.