How did the old masters do it before photo reference and electric light?

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  • #12062
    Lucille Kreps
    Participant

    So when I was in high school I really found paintings like this boring because I really think that not only was my mind over saturated with altered photographs and other random advertising images, tv stuff, movies, ect (so, like, who cares about one more image at that point?) but I also really did not understand or appreciate anything that went into actually creating a painting like this. Now that I’m getting back into art after so many years paintings like this are the most interesting thing in the world because HOLY CRAP!!!! How was this dude doing this?!?!?! Especially with no photo reference?? And with no electric lighting???

    I mean… I can’t image the people in these paintings were really sitting still for the length of time it would have taken to paint them… but even if they were to sit still for that long – without electricity they were relying completely on sun light which, as I’ve come to learn now, actually moves and changes your scene pretty rapidly while you’re trying to paint. So…. were the old masters doing quick studies while the light was the way they wanted it and the scene was actually happening and then doing a more detailed painting back in their studio kind of half from memory? part from imagination? Or were they having people (or still life) sit in the same pose at the same time of day and just doing the painting over many short sessions? these are the burning question I have – what’s your take on this?

    thanks!

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    #12065
    Lucille Kreps
    Participant

    whoops, had to downsize this photo

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    #12183
    Matthew
    Keymaster

    Lucille,

    Listen to tomorrow night’s podcast. Great question.

    Matt

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