Portrait work in the blink of an eye

What to do with a bunch of students who cannot wait to leave school for Christmas holidays? When concentration decreases as constant as the days get shorter? Exactly, you give them a challenge. Ours was to implement a detail of a Byzantine Jesus within 24 hours. (Do not worry: Of course it was not 24 hours of one day, but the time was spread over a few days of school.)

Byzantine, that means use of strong colors, as the figures are usually framed by a golden background and need an extra charge of luminosity. As usual, we first went to the magazzino degli smalti, the material storage to set the color grading and enriched the mixture with smalti from the same color family. Among them and essential for Byzantine Portrait the deep red rosso coppo, and the pink, which is used only for the line on the eyelid.

Mixing greens, reds, yellows, purples, whites, browns and blacks in such a small space while keeping an eye on the light-dark contrast was challenging indeed and as usually the time flew by. But I finished within the 24 hours – even 3 hours earlier – and am proud of the result. It feels great to close in 2014 in Spilimbergo in this way. Now it’s time to take a break though: My bags are packed for the Christmas holidays and tomorrow I fly back to Germany.

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