Analytical study into El Greco’s baptism of Christ: clues to the genius of his palette View Full Text


Ontology type: schema:ScholarlyArticle     


Article Info

DATE

2008-03

AUTHORS

S. Daniilia, K.S. Andrikopoulos, S. Sotiropoulou, I. Karapanagiotis

ABSTRACT

What the discerning gaze of the art historian has deduced from comparisons in style – namely, that the unsigned Baptism of Christ (dated 1567) comes from the hand of the master Cretan painter, El Greco – is now investigated by the dispassionate eye of technology. The examination by means of analytical methods of diagnosis aimed at making an in-depth investigation into the hitherto unknown personal traits of the artist’s painting technique. By observing the cross-sections under the optical microscope and analyzing the materials through the application of μRaman and μFTIR spectroscopies and of high performance liquid chromatography (HPCL/DAD), it was possible to reveal the “fingerprints” of the artist’s brushwork. In his masterfully executed Baptism, El Greco has succeeded through his perspicacity and ingenuity, to combine traditional techniques of Byzantine icon-painting with the innovative practices of Venetian Renaissance art. The artist’s palette contains mineral, earth and natural organic pigments, as well as some synthetic ones of glass or resin base: lapis lazuli, indigo, lead-tin yellow, orpiment, yellow ochre, cochineal lake, copper resinate, burnt umber, lead white and carbon black. Furthermore, he introduces a layer of white imprimatura containing varied combinations of powdered glass and lead white. The detection of substantial similarities between the glass varieties used in the Baptism and those found in works by Venetian painters contemporary with El Greco (such as Tintoretto) further attests ascription of the Baptism to the period of the artist’s brief sojourn in Venice. More... »

PAGES

565-575

Identifiers

URI

http://scigraph.springernature.com/pub.10.1007/s00339-007-4328-7

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00339-007-4328-7

DIMENSIONS

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