Panel Painting 101

Posted On March 30, 2018 | 13:29 pm | by jamesc | Permalink
James N. Carder (April 2018)

Left: Giovanni del Biondo, Hebrew Prophet, ca. 1370, Mueso de Arte de Ponce, Puerto Rico.

Right: John Hanson's pedagogical replica. Dumbarton Oaks Archives (AR.OB.Misc.106.a).

In 2015, John Hanson, former assistant curator of the Byzantine Collection and amateur artist, took a course on the techniques of panel painting. In this course, he prepared a copy of a fourteenth-century painting of a Hebrew prophet by the Florentine artist Giovanni del Biondo that is in the collection of the Museo de Arte de Ponce, Puerto Rico. The original artwork was painted with pigmented egg tempera and gold leaf on a prepared panel. John replicated the historical technique and gave the results of this project – his panel painting showing the preparation of layers on the right side and the finished painting on the left; a box of materials used in the making of the painting; and a powerpoint slide presentation of step-by-step procedures – to the Museum department so that its docents could better understand the making of Byzantine icons and Renaissance panel paintings. These objects are housed in the Dumbarton Oaks Archives.

Box of minerals and pigments, gold leaf, parchment, and dogs tooth. Dumbarton Oaks Archives (AR.OB.Misc.106.b).

The box of materials has containers arranged in two superimposed layers that contain alabaster – azurite – bone black – charcoal – cochineal insects – dogs tooth [for burnishing the gold leaf] – gold leaf – green earth – indigo – lapis lazuli – lead tin yellow – lead white – malachite – natural chalk – parchment scraps – raw umber – red lead – red ochre – rose madder – verdigris – and yellow ochre.

For the step-by-step procedures in making a panel painting, click here.