Université Paul Valéry
Once a monumental work had been commissioned and its iconographic content defined, the work then had to be carried out by the painters. This is the starting point of our discussion. In order to perform this work, the craftsmen needed prior knowledge. The latter, acquired during training and in the exercise of their trade, was multiple. Their knowledge covered the field of materials and techniques, drawing and the use of pictorial representation. The mastery and skill of the painter were assessed on the basis of his formal stock of knowledge and empirical culture.
When they arrived on site, each painter was expected to be familiar with the tasks involved. The tools needed to carry out the work, preliminary tasks such as setting up a scaffold, plastering the wall in preparation for painting (unless these chores had already been done by masons), laying out the pictorial composition using tracings or preparatory drawings, preparing pigments and binders, choosing the appropriate application technique, are all steps necessary to executing the decoration itself. Supported by texts and observations of Catalan murals, the procedures used by medieval painters are thus seen to cover a broad spectrum of knowledge and know-how, providing a different assessment of the impact of their work in the process of creating Medieval painted ensembles.
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