Categories: ArtObject

Scenic painting in theatre

Theatrical scenic painting includes wide-ranging disciplines, encompassing virtually the entire scope of painting and craft techniques. An experienced scenic painter (or scenic artist) will have skills in landscape painting, figurative painting, trompe l’oeil, and faux finishing, and be versatile in different media such as acrylic, oil, and tempera paint. The painter might also be accomplished in three-dimensional skills such as sculpting, plasterering and gilding.

The scenic painter subordinates their skills to the theatre designer. In some cases designers paint their own works.

The techniques and specialized knowledge of the scenic painter replicates an image to a larger scale from a designer’s maquette, perhaps with accompanying photographs and original research, and sometimes with paint and style samples.

Scenic paint
Scenic paint has traditionally been mixed by the painter using pigment powder colour, a binder and a medium. The binder adheres the powder to itself and to the surface on which it is applied. The medium is a thinner which allows the paint to be worked more easily, disappearing as the paint dries. Today it is common to use brands of ready-made scenic paint, or pigment suspended in a medium to which a binder will be added.

Origins and history
The theatrical painting is probably as old as the European theater itself, which was built in ancient Greece in the 6th century BC. Chr.

Pliny the Younger and Vitruvius reported at this time of paintings in the theaters and Roman arenas.

Fixed, painted stage decorations in the form of linen-covered frames behind an architecturally unchanging stage front were used in the Renaissance, for example in the perspective stage of the Teatro Olimpico. In this stage form one used the high art of the perspective representation of the Renaissance artists, in order to fool the viewer the illusion of a spatial stage scenery. Here, stage passages between the front and back stages were provided with painted fabrics on wooden frames to complete the spatial effect of a perspective for the viewer. Both in the Renaissance and in the Baroque era, antique decorative elements were rediscovered, elaborately designed and functionally extended.

The preferred central perspective of painting since the Renaissance was incorporated into the now unstoppable rapid development of stage decoration. As a result, Filippo Bunelleschi (1377-1446) is also called the pioneer of theatrical painting. The result was large-scale paintings, which are in no way inferior to the contemporary oil paintings in technology and perfection. The purpose of this central vanishing point perspective was the illusion of a vanishing point in the infinity, for example, often used to represent impressive canyons and surpass in their effect.

At the beginning of the Baroque, Giovanni Battista Aleotti developed mobile open-air scenes in 1606 to make the stage decoration changeable. These rigid decorative elements were of course painted with scenic, scenic or architectural representations. Also used for the transformation of the stage design were painted Telari – which were modeled on the ancient Periakten. These three-sided, vertical prism components could be felt side by side from the front as a homogeneous surface, which accomplished by a turn a quick, uncomplicated change of the stage design.

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Painted decoration parts
painting techniques
Since the theatrical painter paints a multitude of curtains on stage, his techniques are just as varied and specific as the materials and other materials he needs to work on.

For a long time – and still – there were and are techniques that are unspoken and belong to the professional secrets of the theatrical painters and are difficult to learn; At that time people often said “they had to be stolen with their eyes”. Techniques that are well known are also painting techniques commonly used in free art, such as Alla-prima painting (painted in one layer) and the glaze technique (multi-layer painting). The latter is very often used in theatrical painting; Not for nothing does the theatrical painter paint his huge “canvases” on the floor.

The glazing technique implies dilute medium, whereby even the lowest layer of paint shines through to the last through further, applied layers of paint.

Traditionally, this is done as follows: The motif, which should later adorn the prospect as a painting, is first drawn with coal – by means of coal rod (a piece of coal on the long rod) standing on the primed fabric substrate. The carbon precursor is then drawn with a diluted color (often a sepia or brown tone); but not only the contours, but already extensive elaboration. Here you can already achieve a plasticity of the painting by glazing over areas that need to be darker several times. This process, which serves to concretize his pre-drawing and “hold on” the painting surface is called sintering. About the sintering the paint jobs are then glazed, the sintering is still to see through. At the end, the lights and the dark are set a bit more opaque. In the course of large-scale paintings which are mainly found at opera houses, it is advisable to fix the coal pre-drawing with a very oversized glaze by means of a spray gun. In this process technology, the grainy texture of the impression, which is also retained in a subsequent translucent painting, combines with a spray pattern, if it is worked with a spray gun.

The theatrical painter is – in addition to his artistic ability – also an imitation painter, of marble, stone, wood, rust, patina, etc. For each imitation there are the various techniques and tricks; over beer glaze to marble structure “wrap” or Kolzkörner “beat”. Here, however, priority is given to the remote effect, as in all theatrical paintings; because the next viewer, who looks at the work on stage, usually sits at least eight feet away.

Occupation and activity
The profession of stage painting is still called theatrical painting in linguistic usage. His training path has only been officially recognized in the former West Germany since February 2000. The learning of this profession takes place mainly within the framework of a vocational training and is usually three years. Today, most of the training courses are in the dual system (ie school-based and company-based), as well as in individual cases only operationally. There are three well-known vocational schools in Germany: one in Berlin, one in Essen and one in Baden-Baden. The only university in Germany to offer theatrical painting is located in Dresden. Both for the degree program and for most training companies, a portfolio of artistic works as an application is a necessary prerequisite. To date, no master’s degree exists for the training path; All stage painters are either unskilled, skilled journeymen or graduate students.

Theater painters are mostly employed at state and municipal drama and opera houses, their workplace is the painting room. However, there are increasing numbers of independent decoration companies or studios; in which freelance stage painters, but also artists or decorative painters are employed. In film productions, too, stage painters are employed who furnish the set with their paintings.

Larger collections of historical theatrical painting have been preserved in Germany at the Meiningen Theater Museum (decorations from the Meininger tour period, 1874-1890) and at the Ravensburg Concert Hall (decorations by the Stuttgart court painter Wilhelm Plappert, 1902-1910).

Source From Wikipedia