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2012-05-07 14:34



Stygian Publishing is delighted to premier a unique collection of new works by the artist Yuroz. Prepare to be transported back in time to Renaissance Italy by Yuroz's imaginative fusion of classical techniques and contemporary artistic expression. His exquisite rendition of a specialized method of combining silver leaf and drawing on wood panels pays homage to Venetian artisans in the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries who echoed the sensuous and cultivated beauty of their time in decorative art and décor. "It all began several years ago when I came across a line of designer furniture that featured what was called a Venetian silver finish," explains Yuroz, whose boundless creativity has excited collectors for almost three decades. "The elegance of the silver color and softness of the reflected light created a beautifully aged look. When I slid my hand across the surface of a finely polished coffee table, I knew immediately that I had to learn how to make this for myself. I began to research this historical process with the help of experts and discovered a wealth of information that has lent a fresh new dimension to my work."


For thousands of years the eyes of the civilized world have been captivated by the refined vitality, rich traditions, and dynamic advancements that define Italian art, architecture, fashion, cuisine, and mechanical design. Our 21st century fascination with "bling" mirrors the age-old appreciation for sparkling luster, especially when it carries the cachet of antique affluence. By incorporating the styles that evolved as part of their rich cultural Greco-Roman, Byzantine, and northern European heritage, Venetian artisans during the Renaissance were respected for their skillful application of silver leaf on paintings, furniture, and objets d'art. The exquisite colors and textures of these works of art were enhanced by the mysterious quality of light that they reflected. After 900 years art specialists have been able to determine that the illusive secret was not only in the silver leaf itself but in the surface to which it was applied as well.


In the early 15th century Cennino Cennini wrote about this labor-intensive process in his book titled Il libro dell'arte (The Craftsman's Handbook). On reinforced panels made of linden or poplar wood, an artist would spread gesso (and often linen soaked in gesso). When dry, the gesso became very hard and was rubbed to a smooth finish. Then the artist would begin to draw his image in charcoal or sharpened lead. Afterwards, gold or silver leaf with red sizing would be applied to the background and tooled to add texture and definition. When the gilding was firm, the painter would build up layers of tempera and finish the painting with layers of varnish.


Yuroz's technique embraces this traditional approach in his Venetian silver artwork but is enhanced by his own distinctive touches. After selecting high quality kiln-dried birch plywood, he constructs heavy-duty mortises on the back surface for support. Two layers of water sealer are applied to the back and sides of the panel. Once they are dry, Yuroz spreads two or three layers of clay on the front surface, sanding each one in turn thoroughly. "Then I use a drawing medium, and sometimes watercolor, to implement my drawing," the artist states. "Once it is completed, I use a special fixative to seal the image. When the artwork is dry, I start working with a transparent gel in the same manner that I would use oil paint, by using a coarse brush to go over the entire surface as if it was a canvas. This leaves very definite brushstrokes but doesn't obscure the drawing. When it is completely dry, you can see the drawing clearly with the added texture made by the brush. Then I force thick oil paint into the brushstrokes, and that's where the magic begins."


Waiting patiently for the artwork to dry, Yuroz goes to the next step by wiping the paint gently from the surface to bring out the highlights on his panel. "This process gives the painting a beautiful quality reminiscent of a Rembrandt print with its interplay of light and dark called chiaroscuro," he explains. When the drawing is finished and sealed, Yuri isolates it with masking tape, leaving the other areas open to receive the silver leaf. "After brushing homemade glue onto the clay surface and letting it dry, I carefully apply the silver leaf, brushing away the excess and then letting the project dry for a couple of days. Then I add a special finish that imparts an extra shade of brown to my artwork. Once again the panel is left to dry and then sealed. And finally, the painting is born!"



In this age of immediate gratification and intolerance with the passage of an extra nanosecond, collectors and connoisseurs can appreciate the patience and precision of Yuri's technique and vision. To add a special bonus, he will design a custom frame for each piece of artwork using the same process. "By blending the clear-cut lines of a classical drawing, which can look like an etching or mezzotint, with the textured strokes and luminosity of an oil painting, I have created a distinctive fusion of the ancient and the modern. The shimmering quality of the silver leaf adds grace and richness. When I look at my Venetian silver paintings, I feel a sense of timeless elegance and beauty, and that's very gratifying," Yuroz concludes.


Share our excitement with this stunning new direction in Yuroz's creativity. We at Stygian Publishing look forward to your comments and to being your source for the finest in today's top-notch art.

 by Jeanne Chitty



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