Sunday update – Philippe

The update of the small Philippe de Croÿ after a van der Weyden is done, it was just a study anyway.  He’s literally still wet behind the ears  at the moment.

There is a big change from the earlier version: the black stuff left of him and on his neck. This symbolises the hatred that Charles of Burgundy felt for him and which is going to devour him eventually

(In reality I accidentally smudged black paint from his jacket all over his neck so I made it look like it was on purpose.)

The sketchbook in which I started working halfway through July is full. Good, now I can choose one with better paper. The last three drawings are another version of Rolin and two preparatory sketches for art school assignments.

Some time of the afternoon was spent creating a pattern for a Renaissance style hat which I had already started last spring but then we had a heatwave and there was not much enthusiasm for warm hats. I came to the conclusion that I don’t have any felt lying around so the real execution will be for another day.





WIP update (on the wrong day)

My blood was stil boiling yesterday evening (see earlier post) so instead of watching tv, I decided to paint some more, to keep the adrenaline under control. It’s a very zen activity, very helpful.

First I worked a bit on the little old de Croy painting. Turns out oil paint over acrylics is not very recommended and it starts to flake a little. Ah well.

After that I touched up the arm of the Ikaros from last year. This one was originally painted in watersoluble oils and  the surface has dried up matte, except where I used stand oil. That part is quite shiny and still sticky. I’ll probably put a glaze over it with a different type of oil. Not the best possible picture of it but it’s this one:

Next I worked a little on Antoine until he was too sticky and then I put another layer on Charles.

I found some info about the painting in the catalogue of the Berlin museum where the original is on display. It is believed to be a good studio copy from a portrait that is perhaps older than 1460. The painting is listed in a medieval inventory but in the original painting C has a parchment scroll in his hand, not a sword. The original is lost, I believe.

The coarse canvas cardboard I’m working sucks up a lot of oil so I don’t think I’ll put many more layers on it, it’ll get too saturated. It’s just a study so no need to go much further and polish it up and smoothe it out. His hair is terrible so maybe it’s a good idea to order a couple of those special hair brushes. I’ll have to do a separate study because the painting is so dark and I can’t make out the lines very well.  I also have to work a little on his hamster cheeks and he doesn’t look mean enough yet. It’ll need more contrast on the final one too.

For a laugh I placed it on an old style frame I have lying around to see what it would look like.

It doesn’t photograph very well and it has not yet yellowed over time, but the frame does upgrade it a little.

Haven’t done any painting so far today, had some other stuff to do. For the classes I’m going to make some studies for two new paintings. But that’s for another day.



A couple posts ago, I believe, I said I was going to do something about the fruit of Eden. Often the fruit is depicted as an apple. However, on the mystic lamb, the fruit Eve is holding doesn’t look like an apple. There has been a lot of discussion about what the fruit the snake tempted Eve with actually is. In an old book about the history of Belgium  (1619)I found this little passage about van Eyck’s mystic lamb, where the nature of the fruit is discussed:

In this passage it is said that the fruit may be a fig, or an apple. But the fruit in Eve’s hand doesn’t look like a fig or an apple. I can’t remember who said it, but apparently it is some kind of ancient citrus fruit, some kind of lemon. The lemon, so they say, reminds us of the bitterness of the original sin.

The lamb code is not too hard to read once you have the key and a citrus makes sense but it’s not about the bitterness of sin. But where is the serpent?



Wip – Study C1

Quick study of the face of  Charles of Burgundy, on a small canvas board (30*25). It is not finished but needs to dry first. Several corrections to be made: bigger chin, wider lips, eyes, eyebrows, more contrast. Plus shading of hair, coat, background. The collar is for when everything is completely dry.

Note that the colour is not rendered entirely correctly in the photograph. Also, the real painting will be on a panel, which will make it look smoother.




Death by door, blood on the floor

In lieu of an inktober pen drawing here is a pencil sketch of Charles VIII, king of France at the end of the 15th century.

Trivia: Was engaged to Charles TB’s daughter when he was a child. Died in 1498 at the age of 27 after bumping his head on the lintel of a door in the castle of Amboise.

Ran into him at Langeais. My mother was very amused, because he looked like the spitting image of someone we know well. In hindsight it was one of those ‘Gideon is coming’ moments.


The fruit is for another day.