Drawing with Silverpoint

Subject: Drawing
Dates: 29 July 2019 - 2 August 2019
Time: 10:30 - 17:30
Location: The Prince's Foundation School of Traditional Arts
Tutor: Dr David Cranswick
Full price
£ 385

Metalpoint drawing as practiced by Master Renaissance Artists 14th - 16th Century

The practice of metal point drawing dates back to antiquity. In Europe from the 14th century to 16th century metalpoint was the popular medium for drawing. Each of the metals or alloys possess different physical characteristics, each metal giving a different type of stroke with subtle difference in hue also.

In order for the metalpoint to create an clear flowing line, the paper or parchment requires to be carefully prepared. Ceninno Ceninno in the late 14th century describes preparing the surface with crushed chicken bones, chalk or white lead.

As the metal is drawn across the surface, tiny particles of metal are left behind, creating a mark. Often the paper would also be given a pale tint created by mixing earth pigments with a little animal glue, this also gave the possibility of creating highlights with the addition of white.

By the 15th century silver became the most popular metal to use for this technique, artists made use of the natural tarnishing qualities of the metal, resulting in the line becoming slightly darker with age. Other metals used were tin, bismuth, lead, gold and copper.

During this workshop students will be taken through a range of exercises using silverpoint. Students will learn how to prepare their own traditional grounds for silverpoint drawing as described by Cennino Cennini using ground bones and chalk.

Students will prepare a range of different coloured surfaces onto which they will make studies from old master drawings as well as creating their own subjects, exploring the possibilities of this beautiful technique and their use on coloured grounds.

Students will spend two days being instructed in how to prepare various traditional grounds for silverpoint; this is very much to do with the practice of actually making the grounds, not just theory. The remaining three days will be focused on doing a number of silverpoint drawings, exploring the differences when drawing on different types of ground. The course is learning by practice, and so the entire workshop is focused on the practice of silverpoint; this includes learning how to prepare different grounds. The ground is part of the silverpoint technique, one cannot separate the ground from the actual drawing, one is borne out of the other. Students will be making copies of renaissance silverpoint drawings, these will largely be portraits but will include drapery, hands and possible other parts of the human anatomy, also one or two animals. Students will have several copies to choose from.

Who is this course for?

All levels of experience and ability welcome.

What should I bring to class?

All materials will be provided on this course. Students may find it useful to bring a notebook and camera for note-taking. Masks will be provided for students for sanding and preparation of paper.

What days do I attend?

Monday - Friday

Do you offer concessions?

Yes, we offer concessions for full time students and OAPs.

To receive a concession, please apply via our online form.

What if I need to cancel or change my booking?

You can view our policy here.

By booking this course, you agree to our terms and conditions. Click to view.

Tutor biography

Dr David Cranswick

David Cranswick trained at the Royal Academy of Arts, London. He received a doctorate for his research into traditional painting materials and techniques in 1999 through The Prince's Foundation School of Traditional Arts. David has taught traditional painting materials and techniques since 1979. He is an MA tutor at the School and is also a PhD supervisor and examiner.

Dr Cranswick is currently writing a book on traditional painting techniques and their underlying craft practices as expressed through the Alchemical tradition.

Upcoming Courses with Dr David Cranswick