l paintings, as when Geurcino used this medium fro a study in preparation for the monumental oil painting ‘Erminia Finding the Wounded Tancred’ ( circa 1660), but red chalk was also used to make decorative and quite elaborate landscapes. The writer goes on to state that red chalk became very popular during the Rocco period in France and was utilized
This particular technique can be used to exercise great control and precision. It is very easy to use , no mixing of colours, preparation of pigments etc., and gives a rapid result, using simple strokes. That of course does not mean that it does not also require great skill.
A famous picture in red chalk is usually referred to as Renaissance man is often credited as being a self -portrait by Leonardo Da Vinci, although it is perhaps a portrait of a relative of his. Scholars are in dispute about this. It dates from 1512 and is held at the Biblioteca Reale in Turin, Italy ( Daily Mail, 2009). It is rarely on public view simply because it is so fragile, because it is subject to foxing, yet at the same time it is often copied and so well known. There has recently been developed a special box, a Climabox, which will, it is believed, preserve the wonderful portrait from further deterioration.
Mayhew ( undated ) has spent a great deal of time researching the various materials used by early artists. He describes it as a natural material and easy to cut into sticks right from the earth as it was already very compressed. He states that da Vinci was the first artist to use it. However supplies became depleted by the end of the 17th century and so it dropped from popularity. By 1795 an artificial substitute had been developed by Frenchman Nicholas Conte, but Mayhew states that this ‘crayon’ simply doesn’t have the ‘glow’ of the natural product, and is harder to work with. He quotes Edward Burne-Jones as being in despair as he asks every colour man for the rare original, and saying ‘Now the