persone in olio - Ben Smith

The Italian Renaissance, of the 14th-17th centuries, was an intellectual and artistic boon, with new philosophies and techniques driving the art of the era. The phrase “person in olio” is Italian for “people in oil.” That is the title of this collection because it is a collection of oil painting portraits from the Italian Renaissance – a time when new techniques were born in the realm of painting, which gave a news sense of depth and perspective. These are paintings that were intended to give the sense of a real person captured in time, in beautiful form and fashion.

This painting depicts a young man with his hand placed on the chest of his garment. This oil painting reflects the typical characterization of the Renaissance portrait in its use of the texture element. The texturing work with the oil paints in this painting gives very realistic looking skin texture, and a realistic sense of lighting, as shadow cascades from his lower jaw, down his neck.
The subject of this portrait is a Lady with what seems to be more upscale attire. She sits in a chair, holding what appears to be a small mirror or fan in her left hand. Again the stand out element here is texture. The blending of lighter and darker red hues give the illusion of wrinkles in her dress. You can even see the dress is probably made from a smooth fabric, like silk, simply from the sheen the highlights give the dress.
This is another portrait of a lady, but this one shows a woman in a very different dress, standing next to a stone image of woman. The element here that best exemplifies a renaissance portrait is the color element. The colors used in this image are of a darker variety. They are closer to the grey/brown hue than a vibrant red, despite lady’s maroon colored dress.
This painting shows a man with an incredulous look on his face. This image is even darker than the previous portrait in its color palette. But it still makes use of the same dark brown/grey color pallet as many Renaissance paintings. Yet the use of the texture element again gives the surface of the man’s faces a realistic skin look.
In this painting, we see a man with a long beard looking away from viewer. The expression could be interpreted in a few different ways. This image is a good example of the style of these renaissance era portraits. The subjects are rarely smiling. Much like the Mona Lisa, it is difficult to tell what emotion this man is expressing.
This is simply a portrait of a man. His attire is difficult to make out, aside from his hat. Much like other portraits of the era, it isn’t making a specific artistic statement with its subject matter, but it shows what is likely a fairly accurate representation of the man in the painting. The standout element here is the sense of form given to the man’s face. This look was achieved with color and texturing. If you look close, you can see the smooth blending of skin tones, shadows, and highlights, giving a sense of his face’s form.
This portrait shows a man in profile, standing, or siting upright. The background is completely black. The man’s face shows his age. You can see from the wrinkles around his eyes and mouth, that he is middle aged. This is discernable due to the use of color. This painting does well what many renaissance era paintings are known for - which is lighting. The depiction of the shadows in this painting gives the sense of high contrast in a dark environment. These harsh shadows show off the man’s wrinkles.
This picture shows a “youth” in what looks like a corset with flowers on top of her head. The standout element at work here is texture. Her hair looks frizzy. This was attained by using this, sharp lines toward the outside edges of her hair. A sense a curly waves was added to her hair using color variation to give the a sense of depth as the hair curls in different directions.
This painting is very similar in subject to the painting of the “youth,” but looks very different. This is due to the use of the element of line. The other image used color to create form, by blending different tones to give the sense of depth and create shadows. This image does that as well, (like most portraits from this era) but this one instead utilizes the Line element more to create form.
These last three paintings have all been very similar in subject. Again this image shows a woman in a dress against a dark background. This woman’s dress is more ornate, though the vibrant reds still appear more muted. This image is a very good example of the texture element in use. Upon close examination, the surfaces in this image still appear very true to life; like her hairline, or the frills coming from the neck of the dress. It’s all shown in great detail. These elements of texture add up to give a more life-like image.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.