36 x 30
“Trenta, quaranta velature!” (Translation: glazes, thirty to forty)
Velatura- don't you just love that word? Go ahead, say it a couple of times...doesn't it just roll right off your tongue? I've been doing some research on terms that were used in the Renaissance to describe what we refer to as glazing or to indirect techniques in general. Velatura seems to be used here by Titan as a synonym for glazing. But, other information indicates that this word referred to a milky or translucent glaze made with opaque paint rather than transparent paint. So, a scumble, right? Well, maybe. But, the distinction, at least among some writers, seems to be in the consistency of the mixture- a velatura being a more fluid glaze like consistency and a scumble being a dryer mixture. Whatever it was, Titian is said to have put it on with his fingers.
What comes through loud and clear is that all of these techniques were used in various ways, combinations and with great inventiveness in order to achieve desired optical effects and create form. For example, in Titian's case he used methods used in the earlier Flemish school, those developed in Venice and his own unique variations of those. Later, Rembrandt did the same, combining directly painted passages with voluptuous layers of both transparent and thinned opaque paint.
I started this painting as a demo back in April when my workshop group was here. Since then, I've worked on it off and on and added many layers- glazes, velaturas and scumbles. I've also used passages of glaze impasto- something I've been unable to find an historic term for, although Rembrandt used them. Whatever you call it, I love the look it creates. These details give a good idea of what the surface looks like and the soft, atmospheric look it creates. It also shows how much the larger image "tightens" up in the photography.
Velatura. Say it slowly...