|Egg Tempera Technique of the Masters|
Monks illuminations | Giotto | Botticelli | Annigoni | Jose-Maria Sert | Wyeth | Vickery | Resources
Anonymous Monks Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts, 8th to mid 13th Century
Working surface: Parchment done with the skin of a new born animal rubbed with pumice or powdered glass, it was ofen dyed purple with shellfish dye or with verdegris. Parts to be painted or gilded received a fish glue sizing. Mediums were glaire or whipped egg white with gums and honey to avoid brittle and ear wax to eliminate glair bubbles.
Giotto (1266-1339) 14th Century Early Renaissance 'Italian Primitives'
Supports: The "Italian primitives" usualy painted on pannel of wood sized with a thin canvas in order to hide spliting and unperfections. It was superinposed with an other canvas, on which was applied a ground of gesso composed of plaster or chalk combined with animals glues or flour. But it was often prefered a sheese glue (casein) grinded with lime.
Medium: One full egg with fig tree cuts + half part of water
Technique reported by Cenino Cennini in its Art Book
Steps Ingredients Proportions Volumes (Gennini recipe) 1 1 yolk 2 Oil 3 1 white + milk of figs
José-Maria Sert Spanish decorative painter
Recipe used for the decoration of the Vich Cathedral and of the Palace Nations Society main room. With time the emulsion can get thick and has to be diluted with Win vinegar
Ingredients Porportion by Weight 1 full eggYolk and White 1 Oil picture varnish 1 Win vinegar 1
Wyeth, Andrew (1917)
Andrew Wyeth liks Egg Tempera for its quality and natural side. Technicaly for him, tempera is simply dry pigment mixed with distilled water and egg yolk in exactly the right proportion to skim off the palette like a skin. He paints an Massonite. The Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, ME
Robert Vickery is for simplicity. The egg yolk already contains oil, so it is an emulsion in itself. He just adds a certain amount of distilled water to the yolk, around 3 parts of egg yolk and 1 part of water with no preservatives as it may cause trouble. He then filter his emulsion through a cheese cloth. Refer to his excellent book "New Techniques in Egg Tempera".
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