Let us compare this master's famous "Tailor" with his "Lawyer" " and " Ecclesiastic." In " The Tailor " the grey black of the under-painting asserts itself overmuch, and is an illustration of the difficulty a painter experiences in evading the influence of his underlying colours. Perhaps in this case the glazes have vanished. When oil and not varnish is used in glazing the carnations, they may evaporate as in this picture. It is, in fact, never wise to trust to one glazing to which a partial scumbling is not added.<< Previous page
There is an account in Mrs. Merrifield's work of the removal of a glass from a picture by Titian, which, until the glass was taken from it, appeared to be fully coloured. It was found, however, that the glazes had flown from the canvas and had adhered to the glass. In a like manner, owing to evaporation or the ignorance of restorers, many of Sir Joshua Reynolds's portraits* are now colourless. For all that, the faded flesh of Moroni's " Tailor " and Sir Joshua's monochromes, notwithstanding the loss of their warm transparent hues, are finer pictures than many the colours of which are still in good condition ; for a well-wrought grisaille is in itself a beautiful thing.
In spite of this very noticeable grey ground of the " Tailor's" head, there are some who assert that Moroni painted in colour direct. Rarely is direct colour painting without an underlying preparation to be found in the earlier works, except with Frans Hals and a few others of less importance and with Velazquez only in his latest stage, and then not often, as we understand direct painting to-day.
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