A common lament among artists is that there are no books available that give specific, practical information about the procedures used by those creative geniuses collectively known as the Old Masters. The reason for this dearth is that such a work's author would have to possess extraordinarily wide-ranging expert knowledge and skills. Thomas Gullick's credentials indicate a great capability in taking up this challenge. He was a professional artist and scholar living in the mid-19th century, and so was in an exemplary ...
A common lament among artists is that there are no books available that give specific, practical information about the procedures used by those creative geniuses collectively known as the Old Masters. The reason for this dearth is that such a work's author would have to possess extraordinarily wide-ranging expert knowledge and skills. Thomas Gullick's credentials indicate a great capability in taking up this challenge. He was a professional artist and scholar living in the mid-19th century, and so was in an exemplary position to discuss the intricacies of traditional techniques, and to compare modern systems to the styles and methods of previous eras. The book's exceptionally insightful combination of art history, aesthetic theory and erudite analysis made it highly regarded at the time, and it was given as a prize for outstanding achievement at the Royal College of Art in London. In this important new edition, with a newly compiled comprehensive index, Gullick authoritatively covers the aims and objectives the artist should have when interpreting reality, with stress laid on accuracy of detail, depth and transparency. Apropos of these principles, he skilfully discusses the surprisingly complex theories of art that existed in ancient times, including that of the Egyptians, Assyrians, Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans. Also, the spiritual features of Christian Medieval art are explored, as are the distinctive traits of the national schools of Italy, Germany, the Low Countries, and England. Of particular value to the working artist are the detailed sections dealing with technical issues of pre-modern forms of painting, many of which are poorly understood today, but that could, if used, greatly facilitate and expand the range of visual expression. The reader will learn about various physical processes such as encaustic, mosaic, tempera, fresco, oil and miniature painting. There is also a wealth of knowledge pertaining to implements, vehicles, varnishes, grounds, colours, subjectiles (i.e. supports), chemical formulations, the arrangement of the work-room and studio, and much more. Despite the sophisticated nature of the material, the author does not neglect the human dimension, for he cites pertinent facts, as well as witty anecdotes, from the life stories of many well-known and not so well-known artists.
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