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Traité de peinture en pigments précieux

Dirk Weber

Here is a book impossible to classify. In the beginning, his intention may seem very narrow - the pigments from precious stones - and intended only for specialists. The final pages on the «oil held» (the volume of oil needed in the mass of pigment to have colours that may be used in painting) reinforce this fear. Now, behind the serious speech one can find a little jewel of style, in which words themselves are precious (reremember, the notwithstanding) and the phrases worked like antique jewels (the rendering of the « prune over each raisin» demands the use of rubis). Without being heavy, the master in pigmentation draws up a brief treaty without our realizing that we are really very uncapable of creating colours (in any case, these degrees with the ten shades of blue, from «minore» to «sopra maggiore» used by Mignard), that we have no idea how they are manufactured, and that all this ignorance is very harmful to our appreciation of art. From the complete lapis-lazuli, which costs ten times more than gold, to the mysterious azurite, so very much in fashion in the XVIIIth century, to the properties of malachite, which Rosalba Carriera used with great talent, we dig paths across fields in the history of art. In doing so, the author, the mysterious G. Bodenstein, affirms strong and loud that the only really divine French painter is Le Sueur. One has more questions after reading the book than before, and that is very good.

• Traité de peinture en pigments précieux by Dirk Weber, near the train sttion in Bonn (as well as in bookstores…), 2006, ISBN : 978-9995071509, 14,80 €

Review published in the newsletter #52 - from 21 June 2007 to 27 June 2007