Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.


(graphic arts)
A layer of paint that is intended to be seen through a subsequent paint layer; an underpainted section of red, for example, can be altered to a violet or purple color with the application of a thin blue glaze.



in painting, principally oil painting, preliminary layers of paint in which the tonal values of the design are worked out. The shadows are worked in dark tones, and the main masses of light in light tones. Underpainting, which is executed in two or more colors, is intended to show through the thin layers of paint that are subsequently applied during the finishing stage. The use of underpainting and scumbling was popular until the mid-19th century, when alla prima painting became popular. During the Renaissance, underpainting was often used in tempera painting.

References in periodicals archive ?
A purpose-built camera with an infrared light source can "see through" the surface layer of paint to record underdrawings and underpaintings that the artist may have initially rendered.
Martin Postle confirms (64) from a colour image that the painting is by Reynolds, commenting that stylistically it 'conforms to Reynolds's later style of the mid-1780s and the underpainting in the unfinished areas, notably in the body and face of the Child, is consistent with his working method'.
From Matisse she learned how to draw and use underpainting to enrich color, and from Max Beckmann, in one of the largest collections of his work, she discovered how to find a visual vocabulary that could be an artist's own.
She also advances the hypothesis that Giotto taught life drawing to his team, pointing out traces of anatomical underpainting where draperies have flaked off--a practice previously believed to have begun in the mid-fifteenth century.
I work in oil on masonite, starting with a monochromatic underpainting on panel, followed by numerous layers of thin glazes, similar to those used by fifteenth century Sienese painters, creating a highly detailed surface.
The process of underpainting creates sparks of color.
Kane's first assignment was to assist Leigh in the underpainting for the mountain gorilla diorama.
Sgraffito and surface attrition are used to reveal successive layers of underpainting and capture the essential characteristics of the landscape.
In "Nunc Dimittis" an art advisor conceives the idea of commissioning a painting of a lady friend and then scraping her clothing off to reveal the underpainting of her naked form.
An underpainting is done to block in the background.
I do a lot of drawings and begin with a monochromatic underpainting that gives me an idea about the light source and major forms in the painting.
To create the vibrant colors in his paintings, Nootenboom primes his paintings with a technique called underpainting.