Painters' Palette

“The painters of the Middle Ages and of the Renaissance used carefully set palettes and definite tone-relations. This is proved by the recurrence, again and again, of exactly the same tonalities and effects. Modern painters have, as a rule, avoided the use of set-palettes and tone-systems; preferring to depend on visual feeling or native genius. In so doing they have made a very great mistake, and some of them are now fully aware of this.”

This quote is from Denman Waldo Ross, The Painter’s Palette: A Theory of Tone Relations, an Instrument of Expression, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1919.

For some years, I have been studying the palettes of medieval and Renaissance painters and, with many of the same pigments available to me, have started to reproduce their palettes, many of which are depicted in portraits and self-portraits described in painting treatises. This work has led me to more clearly see the tonal and color arrangements in the work of the old masters, which I will be publishing at Natural Pigments.