As a grisaille ( from the French gris = gray ) refers to a painting that is executed exclusively in gray, white and black. For other light or dark tinted colors is called monochrome painting (French camieu ). It is based on pure shadow effect. A form of grisaille is also used in glass painting using. In the Netherlands, this technique is also called penschilderij or pentekening.

Use and history

Grisaille is a technique that has been used particularly in the medieval panel painting. An example of this is the Heller-Altar, which was painted by Matthias Grünewald, and Albrecht Dürer. From Grünewald the inactive leaf on which the saints, painted in grisaille, act like sculptures in niches come.

In the glazing technique, a first layer is used in grisaille to describe the shapes and light in a painting, whatever the subsequent color and hold. After drying of this first layer is colored in the Grisailleschicht transparent layers so that light on the shapes and colors are developed separately. In order to reproduce realistic human skin tones, was used in Renaissance painting in figurative representations also a monochrome light green color first layer, this variant was the name Verdaccio. This painting technique corresponds to the typical skin tone, which would act lifeless without show-through of underlying fine veins of blood and lymph vessels.

A well-known example of grisaille painting of John the Baptist Preaching by Rembrandt in the National Museums in Berlin - Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, created 1634 / 35th In the 20th century, Pablo Picasso's Guernica and Gerhard Richter's October 18, 1977 showed a modern use of this form of painting.

Stained Glass

To spite of the statement of their general chapter for simple design to achieve a still pleasing aesthetics for the windows of their monasteries, the monks of the Cistercian Order took advantage of often the grisaille. The central General Chapter of the Order pretended monasteries for the windows clear rules: You should know, are designed without the cross and without the usual color illustrations of biblical figures. The friars of certain convents developed from the grisaille their own style by white- milky slices with various forms of plant ornaments like tendrils and foliage painted ( → section grisaille in the article Lehnin ).