Up and Down Modeling
As the semester began, our class talked about famous artists and the techniques they used. Up and down modeling was a style aritists used before the variety of paint colors we have today were discovered. This style of painting made it easier for artists to make their paintings appear three dimensional. By using up and down modeling, artists were able to improve the quality and appearance of their paintings.
Back before the variety of paints we have today was invented, artists were limited on what color of paint they had to use. The paints used in this time were not oil paints, but they were made from different types of plants and stones. The plants or stones were crushed up and dye was extracted. Because of this, painting objects that appear three dimensional was very difficult. It was discovered around this time that by adding black or white paints to other colors adds a shadow or lighting effect making objects appear three dimensional. Up and down modeling came about sometime around the late fifteenth century. It was used by artists throughout Europe through most of the sixteenth century and is still used by many today.
Titian was a famous artist from Venice in the early sixteenth century. His early work shows a good use of up and down modeling. St. Mark Enthroned and Other Saints is a painting done by Titian in 1510 that shows a good use of up and down modeling with blue paint. In this painting St. Mark has a blue drapery over his knees. A problem with this style of painting found in this picture is how the draperies appear dislocated or misplaced. Looking at the blue drapery over St. Mark’s knees you can see how it looks almost flat and floating above the column on which St. Mark is sitting. In Titian’s later work he fixed this problem. Titian’s painting L’Assunta is of a virgin floating on clouds; people below her reaching up. The virgin's robe shows a good use of up and down modeling with red paint making it appear her robe is waving in the wind. The sunlight from above appears to be reflecting off parts of her robe, and other the other side her robe appears darker because it’s being shadowed by a blue cloak around her neck. This makes the robe look as if it is going around the virgin.
Caravaggio was an Italian artist living in the late sixteenth early seventeenth centuries. His paintings are similar to Titian’s paintings although he used more colors and the people in his paintings look more real. In his painting The Burial of Christ light appears to be coming from the left side of the painting. By doing this Christ seems to be lit up more than the people holding him. The white cloth around Christ looks to be just down modeling from a white paint, but a good use of up and down modeling can be seen with the brown shirt of the man holding Christ’s legs.
In this painting, Titian shows a use of up and down modeling with the blue drapery
covering St. Mark's knees. This painting was one of Titian's early paintings therefore
the blue drapery appears to be floating above the column St. Mark is sitting on.
St. Mark Enthroned and Other Saints, By Titian
This second painting by Titian has a much better use of up and down modeling.
In this painting, the robe the virgin is wearing shows Titian's improvement with this style of
L'Assunta, By Titian
This painting by Caravaggio shows how the quality of up and down modeling
has improved over the years. Looking at the cloth around Christ
it appears to be hanging from him instead of appearing to float, and the shadows
fading around him made him appear three dimensional.
Christ at the Column, By Caravaggio
Since up and down modeling came about, the concept of painting objects that appear three dimensional has been made easier. It is noticeable that over the years the quality of up and down modeling has increasingly become better. Looking at St. Mark Enthroned and Other Saints, L'Assunta by Titian and Christ at the Column by Caravaggio you can see how the appearance of the paintings became better as time progressed. Although the amount of paints artists have to choose from today is much more than Titian or Caravaggio had, up and down modeling is still used to help show lighting and shadowing effects in paintings.
St. Mark Enthroned and Other Saints
Colour, Art & Science