Jacob van Oost I, The artist's studio, Groeninge Museum, Bruges

Despite the artistic changes that one can detect with regards to the Renaissance, artists from the Baroque period generally work within the parameters of already existing contexts and structures. Guilds and trade groups regulate the work. Court artists are able to elude these strict regulations, but they are bound to the whims of the prince. The painter's trade itself is even governed by various rules that are learned during one's training. Included in this is the knowledge about the characteristics and incompatibility of pigments and binding elements and the routine of model drawings, by which one can ultimately make a composition (an invention). Moreover, the young artist must chose amongst various possibilities to systematically produce a painting by providing a panel or canvas as a foundation, to subsequently underpaint, then paint and retouch. Outside of the studio practice, young artists also found guidance in treatises, such as Den grondt der edel vry schilder-Const in the well-known Het Schilder-boeck by Karel van Mander (1604).


Nico van Hout 

CC BY (Creative Commons 4.0)



  • Karel van Mander, Het Schilder-boeck.


  • Erma Hermens (ed.), Looking through Paintings. The study of painting, techniques and materials in support of art historical research, Leids Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek, De Prom 1998.
  • Nico Van Hout, On dead colour, Antwerp Royal Museum Annual 2008.
  • Nico Van Hout and Arnout Balis, Rubens Unveiled. Notes on the Master's Painting Technique, Ludion/KMSKA 2010.