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The massive wooden window frame and the deep shadowed area of the carpet correspond rather closely to our idea of Vermeer's underpainting method.Neither of these two areas is defined according to the artist's habitual standard of finish.Decorum also determined that a pictorial or sculptural subject was suitable for an architectural setting, such as Vulcan's forge over a fireplace, or that kinds of buildings are fitting in urban or rural contexts or appropriate for persons of certain status.Liturgical functions influenced by decorum dictate the placement of paintings, mosaics and sculpture in religious buildings.), which is the equivalent of today's term "underpainting," is a more or less monochrome version of the final painting which gives volume, suggests substance, substantiates the principal compositional elements and distributes darks and lights.The lack of color used in the term probably explains the word "dead." In the seventeenth century, dead-coloring appears in various forms.Decorum (from the Latin: "right, proper") was a principle of classical rhetoric, poetry and theatrical theory that was about the fitness or otherwise of a style to a theatrical subject.The concept of decorum is also applied to prescribed limits of appropriate social behavior within set situations and suitability of subject matter and style in painting.
It is generally composed of a single resin, such as Dammar or a synthetic type.
Dammar contains a high percentage of turps, or mineral spirits.
This means that it does not form a thick layer like normal varnishes, and is therefore used for bringing out the full wet appearance of the oil paint on a dry ground before resuming painting.
The promotion of the fine arts over the decorative in European thought can largely be traced to the Renaissance, when Italian theorists such as Giorgio Vasari (1511–1574) promoted artistic values, exemplified by the artists of the High Renaissance, that placed little value on the cost of materials or the amount of skilled work required to produce a work, but instead valued artistic imagination and the individual touch of the hand of a supremely gifted master such as Michelangelo (1475–1564), Raphael (1483–1520) or Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519), reviving to some extent the approach of antiquity.
Most European art during prior to this period had been produced under a very different set of values, where both expensive materials and virtuoso displays in difficult techniques were highly valued.