watercolor painting

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watercolor painting,

in its wider sense, refers to all pigments mixed with water rather than with oil and also to the paintings produced by this process; it includes frescofresco
[Ital.,=fresh], in its pure form the art of painting upon damp, fresh, lime plaster. In Renaissance Italy it was called buon fresco to distinguish it from fresco secco, which was executed upon dry plaster with pigments having a glue or casein base.
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 and temperatempera
, painting method in which finely ground pigment is mixed with a solidifying base such as albumen, fig sap, or thin glue. When used in mural painting it is also known as fresco secco (dry fresco) to distinguish it from the buon fresco
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 as well as aquarelle, the process now commonly meant by the generic term. Gouache and distemper are also watercolors, although they are prepared with a more gluey base than the other forms. Long before oil was used in the preparation of pigment, watercolor painting had achieved a high form of sophistication. The oldest existing paintings, found in Egypt, are watercolors. The Persian artist Bihzad (15th cent.) produced exquisite miniatures of great complexity. Gouache was employed by Byzantine and Romanesque artists. In the Middle Ages, illuminated manuscripts on vellum used watercolor to produce their flat, brilliant effects. In this same manner watercolors were used during and after the Renaissance by such artists as Dürer, Rembrandt, Rubens, and Van Dyck to tint and shade drawings and woodcuts. Dürer in particular colored landscape drawings in a manner not unlike the modern method.

In the 18th cent. the modern aquarelle grew from the simple wash coloring of a drawing into a technique of complete painting. This technique became particularly popular in England, where its greatest masters were Constable and J. M. W. Turner. Rowlandson, Cozens, Girtin, Bonington, Cotman, and John and Paul Nash were also celebrated for their use of the technique. Many 19th-century painters also used watercolor extensively, mostly for landscape paintings and sometimes for portraits, but it was no longer commonly used for miniatures. The French artists Daumier, Delacroix, and Géricault, and later, Cézanne, Signac, and Dufy, employed aquarelle to a large extent, for both preliminary sketches and finished works. The American John Singer Sargent became well known for his aquarelles. Other painters in the United States, including Homer, Whistler, Prendergast, Marin, and Sheeler, painted noteworthy watercolors.

The advantages of watercolor lie in the ease and quickness of its application, in the transparent effects achievable, in the brilliance of its colors, and in its relative cheapness. Aquarelles have a delicacy difficult to achieve in oil and are equally flexible, lending themselves to immediate expression of a visual experience. Their handling demands considerable skill as overpainting of flaws is usually impossible. Watercolor was traditionally a comparatively perishable medium, vulnerable to sunlight, dust, and contact with glass surfaces, but the use of modern pigments has made it much more stable.

Bibliography

See G. Reynolds, A Concise History of Water Colors (1971, repr. 1986); C. Fince, Twentieth Century Watercolors (1988).

References in classic literature ?
Miniatures, halflengths, wholelengths, pencil, crayon, and watercolours had been all tried in turn.
It was to be a wholelength in watercolours, like Mr.
Sold that watercolour of the obelisk to a man from Peoria," he announced overwhelmingly.
Adelaida mentioned a watercolour that she would much like to show him, and explained that she would either send it by Colia, or bring it herself the next day-- which to the prince seemed very suggestive.
This was not a competition, but a festival celebrating happiness and watercolours.
Before you know it, though, you'll find yourself hooked as watercolours work their magic on you Above: Is there anything as lovely as nestling | among a field of flowers?
Before you know it, though, you'll find yourself hooked as watercolours work their magic on you | As beautiful as any display in a gallery, let flowers run riot up your walls.
Before you know it, though, you'll find yourself hooked as watercolours work their magic on you As beautiful as |any display in a gallery, let flowers run riot up your walls.
1) It is perhaps that first qualification of Van Gogh's that best captures why watercolours have not received quite the attention they deserve in the story of modernism.
Understanding Watercolours Huon Mallalieu (Antique Collectors' Club, pounds 29.
A COLLECTION of 17 rarely-seen British watercolours is going on display at the Victoria Gallery and Museum this week.