Monday, March 14, 2011

Encaustic Painting - A Brief History

From Wikimedia:

Encaustic Painting

This technique was notably used in the Fayum mummy portraits from Egypt around 100-300 AD, in the Blachernitissa and other early icons, as well as in many works of 20th-century American artists , including Jasper Johns and Fernando Leal Audirac. Kut-kut, a lost art of the Philippines implements sgraffito and encaustic techniques. It was practiced by the indigenous tribe of Samar island around 1600 to 1800.[1]

In the 20th century, painter Fritz Faiss (1905-1981), a student of Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky at the Bauhaus, together with Dr. Hans Schmid, rediscovered the so-called "Punic wax" technique of encaustic painting. Faiss held two German patents related to the preparation of waxes for encaustic painting. One covered a method for treating beeswax so that its melting point was raised from 60 degrees Celsius to 100 degrees Celsius (from 140 to 212 °F). This occurred after boiling the wax in a solution of sea water and soda three successive times. The resulting, harder wax is the same as the Punic wax referred to in ancient Greek writings on encaustic painting.

Encaustic art has seen a resurgence in popularity since the 1990s with people using electric irons, hotplates and heated stylus on a variety of different surfaces including card, paper and even pottery. The iron makes producing a variety of artistic patterns elementary. However, the medium is not limited to just abstract designs, it can be used to create complex paintings, just as in other media such as oil and acrylic.

Gallery of Fayum Portraits

References
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Encaustic painting

1. ^ Pinoy artist promotes native art in Chicago

* Mayer, Ralph. The Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques Viking Adult; 5th revised and updated edition, 1991. ISBN 0-670-83701-6

* Reams, Maxine. "Unique Wax Paintings by Immigrant Artist should Endure 10,000 Years." Los Angeles Times, Oct. 19, 1952

* Hildebrandt, Hans. "Fritz Faiss" Kunst der Nation, 1933