The grisaille technique is a kind of painting. Grisaille painting: description and features

the Lovers of painting and drawing lessons are probably familiar with this concept, as a grisaille. This is one of the most famous techniques that allow the artists as much detail as possible to capture the sculptural and architectural elements. Read more about this art form we will describe below.

General information about the concept

the Grisaille – a kind of painting, which is traditionally performed using one color with its tonal variations. Originally this technique was conceived as a tool allowing detail to show the embossed figure. Later it was used as a visual image, modern decor in the interior. In particular, it was indispensable for designers, because it helps to make the estimated models three-dimensional and realistic. Later grisaille technique began to be used in the design. For example, paintings of different decor items created using this style, have become an integral part of any interior.

that a similar technique?

Using this technique, artists tried to accurately capture the three-dimensional image. So the picture turned out very realistic. According to experts, all the details are so clearly passed down that they are almost impossible to distinguish from real sculptures and relief figures. If you compare these paintings with modern trends in painting, they clearly have a lot in common with figures in 3D style.

Where was used?

some time Later, the grisaille technique was used in the so-called easel painting. But here this art had to fulfill only a minor role. In most cases, it was used as an auxiliary tool. For example, it created a variety of sketches, layouts, and even make the scale of buildings and structures.

only many years later it was decided to separate the grisaille from easel painting, to move it to a separate group of fine art. During the glorious era of the Baroque, grisaille (a painting technique) played an important role in the creation of various architectural bas-reliefs. For example, some elements of this unusual techniques were on the ceilings and walls of the Hermitage. There they are on the wall of the Jordan staircase. The actual elements of the art of grisaille was used in the manufacture of human statues under the arches, while creating the carved effect wall and atrium.

Examples of the art of painting

One bright sample pictures created this technique, is a painting “the Preaching of John the Baptist" once written by Rembrandt. Now it is in the Berlin state Museum. Used the grisaille painting of the famous Spanish artist and sculptor Pablo Picasso. For example, it is this technique he used in his "Guernica".


Recall that this painting was created by the author at the personal request of the authorities of the Spanish Republic. It was first presented at the Paris world fair. The jacket is made in black and white colors with elements of cubism. It captures one of the saddest events that occurred during the civil war in Spain, – the bombardment of the city.

Known color variations

typically, the grisaille is only one or two colors, most often white brown or black-and-white shade. Even earlier, as the services of this art form, used so-called Sepia. It was a special dye, which can be obtained by applying the ink bag of the cuttlefish are marine.
Sepia was mainly interested in artists until the 18th century. Over time, the palette began to dominate the reddish tones. Modern masters use any color and shade, is able to convey the original author's idea of the artist. For example, it can be work with lilac, gray or brown. In addition, during the application of the technique grisaille allowed to use special artistic whitewash.


Why it is so important to master this technique?

As a grisaille-a painting based on the transmission of tones with the shadows, light and color, it is recommended to thoroughly examine the budding artists. As they say experienced painters, to define a palette of items is easy. But you clearly see how one object is lighter or darker than the other – it's real art.
in addition, the use of this amazing technology enables to build the correct tone scale. And this is done when using the singular tone of the scale, consisting of about 5, 7, or 9 semitones. All this can be learn, learning to paint in the style of grisaille. And only after learning this technique should move on to the use of multi-color watercolor.

Drawing (grisaille): varieties

This type of technology can be divided into two varieties: artistic and educational. In particular, the first allows you to create incredible three-dimensional paintings with the help of colorful paints. But the last option is or fat pencil or charcoal. By the way, a training technique used when creating basic sketches, to which are applied various shades of color.
it is believed that using the grisaille can break conditional form (on paper) for several types of surfaces. It can be side, top pruning and frontal image. However, some craftsmen during training sessions artists-newcomers prefer to do the grisaille watercolor (plain). Other, in addition to it, try to use acrylic, oil or tempera. It is also recommended to apply the ink, the liquid solution of the carcasses or Sepia.
Ideal option in this case would use three tones of colors, which are selected according to their colour intensity or saturation. And the first of them, as a rule, used in the callout of the shadows coming from the objects, the following – to highlight the midtones, and the last – to display bright highlights and light areas of the displayed objects.

how to start training?

Training grisaille technique you should start with traditional and simple still life productions. It is noteworthy that in their compilation it is best to use the most common models and items. For example, it may be the plate of fruit, flower vase or any object from household items. And then you can move on to more complex elements, such as figures of people.


How it works?

Drawing in the style of grisaille as follows:
  • it Is a pencil sketch.
  • Apply a light coat of paint - just a few touches, except for light areas of objects.
  • dry.
  • after drying, the student must find the picture of the shadow. He paints them on a darker tone.
  • After drying the designated places with the undertones.
  • In the final stages of the brighter tones stand out the most light and glare.
it is believed that after several such sessions, the students developed a sense of consistency in the work. In short, the grisaille is considered the first step on the ladder of the greatest of modern painting.