Panel painting happens to be a painting support medium that became popular in the West. A ‘panel’ was manufactured from wood with chalk mixture coated on top to form a solid smooth surface like ivory and later on painted using egg -yolk based paint. A panel painting usually adorned a church as an altarpiece.
History of Panel Painting- Panel painting is an ancient concept. It was there in Greece and Rome but only very few continue to exist today. It also had an important place in Byzantine art but only a few have endured primarily because of the iconoclasm of the 9th century. The art of Panel painting made a comeback in the late 12th century in the Western Europe as altar decorations were again back in demand. 13th and 14th centuries are regarded as the golden age of Panel painting in Italian history. However, it is very unfortunate that 99.9% of the Panel paintings are no longer in possession. Panel painting got a new lease of life in the 15th century with the change in attitude towards art and patronage. Panel painting is generally carried out on wood or metal instead of canvas. Before canvas painting came in vogue, the panel provided the support.
Earliest forms of Panel painting
Some of the earliest forms of Panel painting were as follows-
Dossals- A Dossal is an ecclesiastical embellished cloth suspended behind an altar.
Crucifixes- A Crucifix is a cross with a representation of Jesus' body. It is a principal symbol of the Christian religion.
The Technique of Panel construction and Panel painting- The art of panel construction and painting was a thorough and arduous process:
A carpenter would first construct a solid wood piece.
The wood would then be coated with mixture of animal skin glues and then covered with linen.
The third step involved applying layers of Gesso until a smooth hard surface emerged.
After completing panel construction the design was set up in charcoal. After that paint was applied with the help of small brush strokes.
Famous Panel Paintings- Some of the famous Panel paintings are as follows-
- The Ghent Altarpiece
- Adoration of the Lamb
- St. Basil
- Saints Geminianus, Michael and Augustine, with angels above
Panel Paintings are regarded as symbols of grand creative accomplishment. The execution of Panel Painting definitely involves a difficult process. Italian painter Cennino Cennini penned a piece on the art of painting which forms the basic source of information for art historians in this regard.
There is no doubt that X- Radiography and modern technical equipments have allowed easy examining of the innumerous techniques employed by an artist but definitely there are still many unexplored areas of the art of Panel Painting which continue to evoke tremendous curiosity among art historians provoking further research in the field of Panel Painting.