Notebook, 1993-

Eastlake's Methods and Materials of Painting of the Great Schools and Masters

Eastlake, Sir Charles Lock [One-time President of the Royal Academy], Methods and Materials of Painting of the Great Schools and Masters [Formerly titled: Materials for a History of Oil Painting]. Vol. One. New York; Dover Publications, Inc. 1960 [Originally published by Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans in 1847]

Professional Essays - Depth / Transparent Medium

The principle of depth, which is peculiar to oil painting, depends, in a great measure, on our being aware of a transparent medium. Colour may be seen through colour in the thinnest oil painting, or in water-colour painting, and great beauty of combined, yet unmixed, hues may be the result.

But the impression of depth here dwelt on, is that which we experience in looking at a gem set on a bright ground. Its colour is not only enhanced by the light shining through it from within, but the eye is conscious of the existence of the transparent medium--is conscious that its outer and inner surfaces are distinct. We have this impression even when the medium is colourless, as in looking at any object under crystal, or under clear water; however pure the medium there is always enough to mark its presence, and the objects seen through it have, more or less, the quality of depth.

Perhaps the word tone [so often confounded with tint ] might be partly defined as the appearance of one hue within another, when the medium is also appreciable. The higher qualities of tone reside in the harmonious relation of hues in depth--an effect greatly attainable even where the medium is not distinctly visible--but the perfection of such qualities undoubtedly depends on that positive and [p. 353] actual measure of the "within and without" which a rich medium affords. [pp. 353-354]



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