The Technical Page / Caravaggio’s Method

Caravaggio’s Method

There are tonnes of theories about about how Caravaggio underpainted his paintings. 
Below is a PhotoShop version of one of the many—each based on the available evidence—but MJA thinks that this is the most likely one. It’s certainly efficient. (Click on the image for a larger version.)

Essentially, this method comprises a three- or four-tone golden-brown field-colour underpainting onto which the main elements (the people) are worked up en grisaille, using black-&-white greys. This produces a very light base and cool, bluish transition tones onto which the semi-opaque, semi-transparent local flesh colours are broadly painted. This light grey underpainting causes the overpainting colours to glow, in a way that direct painting cannot match, and its “blueness” counteracts to a large degree the browning of the oils as the painting dries over the years. 



Filed under The Technical Pages

3 responses to “The Technical Page / Caravaggio’s Method

  1. >Dear everyone!I will be there soon!!!Bye,Beto Candia from brazil

  2. amanda gronau

    great blog, amazing results!!!!!!! congratulations!!!!

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