John O'Flynn - Artist

John O'Flynn - Artist

On the modern painter's pallette.....

Harold Speed in "Oil Painting Techniques" (1924), (a book frequently available in art-stores today), proposed that since the medieval period there have been three phases of colour in pictorial Western art: (1) pre-Renaissance (2) from Renaissance to 19thC, and (3) Modern (Impressionism forward).

The first used local colour with a bit of light & shade for three dimensional modelling, (Fra Angelico, Giotto are examples).

The second achieved full the three-dimensional modeling and various effects we are familiar with in the "Old Masters’ (from Leonardo to Dalacroix) using a unifying brown backdrop- that Speed calls "brown school".

In the third phase, he suggests, the over-riding characteristic is that blue-violet darks replace the unifying brown backdrop of Old Masters paintings.

In this quotation (above) – which came to me in an e-posting recently - the late 19thC-early/20thC Spanish painter Sorolla seems to concur with this pithy remark….!






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