GRISAILLE

GRISAILLE

(Lilia Munoz “Red Flower”)

GRISAILLE:

From the French meaning “greyness.”

Its origins lie in painting, where images were executed in shades of grey to create an illusion of sculpture, especially relief; notably, the technique was used by 15th century Flemish painters. In French, grisaille has also come to mean any painting technique in which translucent oil colours are laid over a monotone underpainting.

Grisaille enamels were developed in the 16th century in France by the Limoges school of enamellers and among its best-known practitioners were members of the Penicaud family. Today it does not appear to be in wide-spread use.

The technique employs a monochrome colour scheme with varying thicknesses of superimposed layers of white, thus creating half-tones on a dark, opaque or transparent background. Powdered white vitreous enamel is made into a paste by mixing it with water, turpentine, oil of lavender, or petroleum oil and applied to a dark enamel ground, usually coloured black or blue. Lighter areas of the design are thickly painted, while the grey areas are obtained by painting with thinner coats to allow the dark background colour to tone the white enamel pigment. This technique achieves a dramatic effect of light and shade and creates an effect of three-dimensional relief.