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Titian’s gift

  Titian, Portrait of a Man (1510) National Gallery, London Every once in a while someone paints a masterpiece which is so important that it disrupts the art of the future. Paintings of the Renaissance are obviously great examples…
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European tricks to help you through a pandemic, 14th century style

  Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1562), The Triumph of Death. Museo Nacional del Prado   Pandemic tips. Now we have experienced and are hopefully recovering from this truly awful COVID-19 pandemic, it is interesting to look back…
Elias vd Broek
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Hidden delights: small animals in 17th C Dutch paintings

Elias van den broek, detail of Still Life with Roses (1670 - 1708) Rijksmuseum (click to zoom right in on the museum's website)   The 17th century saw a keen interest in science and naturalism and empirical research of the natural…
Nicolaes Gillis
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Bread on the 17th century table

I love going back to my books on 17th C paintings time and time again: just looking at pictures provides such inspiration. I have a few books on paintings of food: while they show beautiful paintings they also provide great insight into the…
Floris van Dijck 1620
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Strange things in old Dutch paintings

Osias Beert. Still life of porcelain vessels containing sweets, pewter plates bearing sweets and chestnuts, three pieces of glassware and a bread roll on a table draped with a mauve cloth. 1600-1619, private collection.   In…
Rachel Ruysch portrait
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Old pigments painting blog: Vandyke Brown

Rembrandt van Rijn,  Saskia van Uylenburgh As Flora, 1641 Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden - Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister inv./cat. no. 1562; Image credit: The Rembrandt Database. Old pigments…
Rembrandt detail
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Old Masters: painting tricks

Rembrandt van Rijn Portrait of a Woman, Possibly Maria Trip (1639) Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam I often paint dark backgrounds. Learning about old techniques, I aspire to approximate those incredible backgrounds of 17th…
skaters
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Skating in Holland

     Winter Landscape with Ice Skaters (circa 1608) Hendrick Avercamp Rijksmuseum Amsterdam   Doe je schaatsen aan! (Put your skates on!) Skating in Holland - Hendrick Avercamp was one of many to paint the Dutch winter and…
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Jan van Eyck: giant of the Northern Early Renaissance

Portrait of a Man (assumed to be a self portrait), 1433. National Gallery London   Jan van Eyck was born in Maaseik, a town in east Belgium, around 1390. He painted for John III the Pitiless, then-ruler of Holland and Hainaut…
lapis lazuli badakhshan
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Old pigments painting blog: Lapis Lazuli

Throughout history, lapis lazuli and the blue pigment that is extracted from it have have occupied a special place in the fine and decorative arts: an expensive, semi-precious stone that for centuries was exclusively sourced fron the rather…
girl with a pearl earring vermeer
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Old pigments painting blog: Madder Lake

My paint box: Madder Lake My paint box is one of my favourite things: I’ve managed to exclude any paint developed after 1700, so no cadmiums or synthetic ultramarine for me. I guess that makes me a purist – it’s interesting how you…
Zomerschoon 1620 Fritillaria meleagris and forget-me-nots Tanja Moderscheim

The Dutch Tulip: heritage cultivars

The Dutch Tulip: heritage cultivars From my garden: Zilver Standaard Dutch tulip, 1760   One of the latest Dutch heritage tulips to surface in my garden is also one of my favourites: the Zilver Standaard, a Dutch tulip which…