Grisaille

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Grisaille

From ARC Staff

Published before 2005


Rubik Kocharian wrote:
Grisaille was originated in Renaissance times and was used intensively in the Baroque. [...] Then underpainting was used for final colors to be as sound as possible. None of the direct painters can come close to the quality of the colors of the indirect method. Sargent was not a direct painter because he was going over and over, sometimes more than 40 times. The direct method is basically Impressionistic that never has the quality of color that we see in Old Masters indirect approaches.

Rubik, which Sargent took 40 passages? Between real traditional grisaille and actual direct painting is where most painters fall. Few real direct painters are worth looking at for long. Monet and his buddies normally did numerous layers. Sargent did many layers - but never in my research 40 - maybe 6 or 7. These (and thousands of other) painters went directly for the actual color. (Sargent painted 17 portraits in 6 weeks in the US.) They rarely hit the mark on the first or second try. Their reds, greys and blues were painted over as they perfected the colors observed from life. They saw no reason to start with grey/green for an orange area. It was "more direct" yet not true direct painting, but little is. Even Schmid's alla prima is often done in several days according to his latest book. That is not true alla prima is it?