painting caravaggio

This is my first attempt at a formal "Master Study" of one of my favorite artists. Instead of jumping in full swing to a large scale masterpiece, I decided to focus on the main protagonist, Abraham, from Caravaggio's "The Sacrifice of Isaac".

My process for oil paintings is fairly consistent. I begin preparing the ground with a thick layer of Burnt Sienna Acrylic. This allows the ground to dry within minutes which allows me to sketch the image usually with a white charcoal pencil. For this painting, I decided to jump right in to the painting with no sketch, but a general outline of the head with burnt umber oil.

Almost all of Caravaggio's paintings depict a delicate balance between light and dark. For me, it's one of the most intriguing aspects of his works. For the background in this painting I laid an initial layer of Lamp black oil which helps me designate the shape of Abraham's head more clearly.

I finished this painting within a few days and impatiently waited another 3 weeks for it to dry (cure) before varnishing. A list of materials used is included below:

11"x14" Gesso Primed Canvas (Gallery wrapped)

Princeton brushes (Various)

Gamblin Oil Paints

Winsor & Newton Oil Paints

Gamsol OMS

Gamvar Gloss Varnish

Find more process photographs on my instagram @benresini

Begin with a ground burnt Sienna Acrylic

Blocking in the background and shadows

Varnishing stage

Final 11" x14" after varnishing

Final Painting