The Traditional Art of Painting in Egg Tempera

Subject: Painting
Dates: 9 March 2020 - 13 March 2020
Time: 10:30 - 17:30
Location: The Prince's Foundation School of Traditional Arts
Tutor: David Cranswick
Full Price

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£ 385

During this workshop students will be taught the traditional art of egg tempera as practised in the Florentine and Sienese schools of the 14th and 15th centuries. Discover the painting techniques of artists such as Duccio, Fra Angelico and Botticelli; learn how these masters using pigments from the earth, mixed with the yolk of an egg, created amongst the most beautiful paintings in the history of Western art. Today egg tempera is becoming increasingly appreciated for its remarkable qualities and durability, compared to modern mediums, and its unique ability to transmit light, giving to colours a jewel-like quality.

This traditional practice involves commencing with an outline drawing (cartoon) which is prepared on paper before being transferred onto a white gesso panel. Over this the painting is then developed in pure tones, from darkness to light (underpainting). Colours are then applied over this in layers of glaze, through which the form of the painting is fully developed and brought to life. As a result of the subtle and dynamic interplay of tone and colour, light is reflected back through the tonal composition beneath to the colours above, giving the painting a radiance and luminosity unobtainable in other mediums.

During the workshop students will be taught about the use of traditional pigments from the earth and plant kingdom, how these are prepared and ground on a stone slab and then mixed with egg yolk to make the tempera paint.

Underlying these painting techniques and craft practises is a traditional philosophy going back to Plato and the Hermetic wisdom of Alchemy; traditionally the craft practices embody the knowledge and wisdom of their tradition; his is revealed to the student, gradually, through service and practice.

This course requires a minimum number of enrolment to run.

Who is this course for?

All levels of experience and ability welcome.

What should I wear?

Wear comfortable clothing that you do not mind getting slightly messy.

Avoid wearing:

Baggy clothing (especially sleeves)

Loose jewellery

Short sleeve t-shirts (when there is a chance of contact with hazardous materials)

High heels or open toed shoes

Health & Safety

When mixing pigments:

Wear the dusk mask provided by the tutor

These masks are disposable masks and are intended to be used for a day at most

Wear disposable nitrile gloves should be worn

Tutors and students must wash their hands and forearms regularly to avoid cross contamination ie. after mixing pigments before eating, drinking, smoking, using the telephone or going to the toilet.

Food and drink must never be consumed in the basement workshop or studios.

Materials List

  • Organic eggs
  • Rabbit skin glue
  • Gelatine capsules
  • White wine vinegar
  • Methylated spirit
  • Garlic bulb
  • Vodka
  • Acacia honey
  • Gum arabic Kordofan
  • Talcum powder
  • Granite grinding slab
  • Glass muller
  • Palette knives
  • Watercolour palettes
  • Table easels
  • Gesso panels
  • Sable or ox hair brushes
  • Titanium White
  • Zinc white
  • Yellow ochre
  • Raw sienna
  • Burnt sienna
  • Raw umber
  • Ultramarine blue (deep)
  • Genuine vermillion
  • Alizarin crimson
  • Naples yellow light
  • Genuine madder lake pigment
  • Genuine indigo
  • Red lead
  • Vine black
  • Lappis lazuli dark
  • Red Ochre Dark Hue

What should I bring to class?

Please bring with you Pure Kolinsky Sable brushes Rosemary & Co.: Series 22 size 0 and 1, Series 33 size 00, 2, 3 4 and 5. A paint palette with wells. 2 x glass jars. A notebook and pen for note taking (optional).

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.

The School reserves the right to discontinue or suspend a Course up to fourteen (14) calendar days before the advertised start date of the Course.

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

Tutor biography

David Cranswick

David Cranswick, PhD, 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 David Cranswick