It has been evident to every artist who has worked in the medium of oil paint for the last two centuries or more, that certain qualities of color and modelling and brilliance of surface which seem to have been the common Possession of earlier schools of painting, were, with the resources currently at their disposal, completely beyond their power to recapture. Whatever genius, or gift for artistic expression they may have possessed, there was, without question, something lacking in the quality of their works, something missing in the material on their palettes. There is a tragic mass of testimony on the subject of the struggles the artists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries had with their technique; and there are artists of the twentieth century, who, even in the midst of the confusion of standards that surround them, realize, like their confreres of the last two centuries, that the key has been lost. This book, then, is written for those artists today who are still haunted by the apparently unattainable perfection of the great masters, and it is hoped that many of them will find the clue that will lead them to a realization of their aims.
Obviously, where there is no record of the facts, it cannot be authoritatively stated that any master painted in any particular way, or that the technique or medium referred to is identical with that of the master in question. All that we