Introduction

If you've just stumbled onto this blog, please forgive the appearance; it's still under construction. If I've used one of your photos (found on Google) in a lecture and you don't approve, please write a comment and I'll remove it.

The purpose of this blog is to explain the basics of art and culture to English language learners in secondary school in Slovakia. This is not for profit. If you look to your right, you'll see a long list of topics that I plan to cover. This is a large project that will most likely take years to complete, covering some topics I know little about (like dance), so I will be borrowing heavily from other experts, with their permission, giving credit wherever possible. Please be patient, and, of course, all advice is greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Art Materials of the Middle Ages

Illuminated Books 

video

Parchment - a kind of paper made from animal skin. soaked in lime water, to loosen hair. then soaked in fresh water and tightened on a frame. It was scraped thin over several days, and continually tightened. Parchment lasts much longer than paper, for thousands of years, although it is vulnerable to humidity. It was roughened with pumice powder and dusted with a sticky powder to help ink stick to it. You can erase marks by scratching. Parchment pages were folded and nested into "gatherings" of 16-20 pages. These gatherings were bound together with linen thread on leather thong supports. Thongs were held with nails or wood, and the covers were made of wood wrapped in leather. Clasps held the book closed to limit the damage caused by humidity.

Quills - pens from the feathers of a bird. They were washed, dried, and hardened with hot sand, then cut to a fine point. Scribes used quills to copy text into these books.

Ink - from gallnuts, or carbon (for lamp black).

Gold Leaf (zlatolist) & Paint - done by an illuminator. Illuminated pages were prepared with gesso (gypsum: sadra) or gum, The moisture in his breath was enough to glue the gold leaf to the page. The leaf was burnished (leštený) and then the design was painted on top. Gold leaf comes in pieces that were four fingers' width.

Gold-Ground Panel Painting

video


Poplar Tree Planks - these were glued together to make a frame, done by a carpenter. It was carved and attached to a frame. Then coated with glue because the bare wood is too absorbent (absorbujúci). The panel was then covered in..

Linen (bielizeň) - which was soaked in warm glue and stretched over the panel.

Gesso - was painted and sanded for a perfectly smooth surface. Gesso had to be perfectly prepared or there would be cracks or air bubbles. Charcoal powder and steel scrapers help smooth the surface.

Charcoal - was also used to sketch a design. Mistakes were erased with a feather. The under-drawing was traced out with ink. Outlines were then incised with a needle before gold leaf was added.

Bole - a red clay painted onto the linen, wherever the gold leaf would be placed, to make the gold colour warm and more attractive. Gold Leaf is so thin it's transparent, and can look greenish over a white linen.

Gold Leaf - is placed over moistened bole, and then burnished with a dog's tooth. Once burnished, the surface was tooled with stamps, a compass, and needles, creating punch-mark patterns and stippling. Mordent gilding was when gold leaf was placed directly over oil or garlic juice.

Egg Tempera Paint - was used on top of the gilding to paint the picture. Different coloured eggs were used for different colours.

Jewellery

 

Silver

 

Enamel

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