We looked at Raphael's Madonna della Sedia, which was done in the round, which was not an uncommon style of the period. We compared it DaVinci's Madonna.
We looked at the colors, the light and shadows, the folds of the cloth.
We read about how Raphael Sanzio worked in his father's studio,
"grinding the lumps of brown mineral into a fine powder with a small mortar and pestle...Now mix the binder into the fine pigment you've ground and you may paint from this bowl...grinding powder to make paint and sharpening leads for drawing were part of every young artist's training during the Renaissance. Raphael's training under his father's guidance was his first step to become an artist."
-Raphael and Painting; The Complete Work of Raphael, Luisa Becherucci
Paint is made of three basic materials; a pigment, a binder and an extender.
In the Renaissance the binder was often egg yolk, the pigments were often made of ground plants, minerals and insects, the extender was often the ground mineral chalk.
I thought it would be fun for us to try to make our own paint a little like they did in the Renaissance.
I took some sidewalk chalk and had them grind it in a mortar and pestle. I knew they couldn't grind enough of it, so I also ground some in our food processor.
Then we added an egg yolk and some paste food coloring and stirred it up. We made the primary colors.
|Our chalk was already pastel colored. I would have preferred to use white chalk, but the pastel colors were all I had on hand.|
The resulting paint was of an interesting texture, much like oil paint, but with some lumps where we had not ground the chalk as finely as we should have. As the boys had spent quite a bit of time grinding the chalk, they had more of an appreciation for how much work it required to make paint in the Renaissance.
|Quentin began mixing the paints to make secondary colors like green.|