They Were All Glassy Eyed…


Scientist finds secret Renaissance ingredient
Tiny pieces of glass shown to give paintings special glow
…Using an electron microscope, Barbara Berrie, senior conservation scientist at the National Gallery of Art, discovered one of their secrets: tiny bits of glass the artists mixed with their pigments.
“By looking beyond the limits of their usual practice and transforming materials from other trades to their painting, the great artists of the Renaissance created a palette that gave them an immediate and lasting reputation as brilliant colorists,” Berrie said.

Ain’t science great? I love it when someone finds stuff like this.

2 Responses to “They Were All Glassy Eyed…”

  1. John says:

    That explains those satins in the Dutch master paintings. I wonder if the also mixed in things such as mother of pearl?

  2. They may well have. Who knows what else people will stumble over if they get curious enough? I just love it. Once upon a time I saw a hugely interesting program on the theory that they’d used a camera obscura ~ my brain is saying 60 Minutes did it ~ to project the scene and then trace it out. (Now, you’ve still got to be one helluvan artist to flesh out the tracings.) The fellow who’d come up with it bolstered the argument by restaging a painting (I wish I could remember which). The distortion in the perspective of the actual painting fit perfectly into the projection. Wild.

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