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Masakazu Miyanaga

Masakazu Miyanaga was born in 1970 in Oita, Japan. Graduated in painting from Fukuoka University (1993) and Tsukuba University (1995). He also completed an internship at the Faculty of Graphic Arts and the Faculty of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art of the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow (1999-2003).

As he himself writes about his work:

“The production of things is getting faster and faster. Therefore, in a sense, my work is an act against the flow of time. In the present world, where digitalisation is advancing and the presence of all objects is temporal, I want to take the time to look at what used to be carefully crafted by artists who had an excellent workshop. That which has survived through the centuries.”

Masakazu’s paintings are painted with egg tempera on wood board. It is a complicated, multi-step process that requires time and precision:

“I paint paintings with egg tempera and gilding on board. The process of painting a picture is based on the techniques of painting (writing) an icon. At the beginning I prepare the board. I cover the board (plywood with reinforcement) with canvas along with rabbit glue to protect a future painting from cracks. Then I apply primer (rabbit glue with bologna chalk) to the canvas, several layers. After the primer dries I sand it with sandpaper to make the surface perfectly even and smooth. The next stage is gilding and preparation for painting. I transfer the previously prepared sketch onto the board, then I partly engrave with a chisel e.g. patterns on armours and wings. I cover with emulsion the surface which I am going to paint with tempera, and on the surface to be gilded I apply pulment. On this layer I put flakes of 23-carat gold, using a special brush and paper. This type of gilding gives the possibility to obtain a noble matt or shine. The next stage is tempera painting. I prepare a binder from egg yolk with wine vinegar, following a traditional recipe. I mix the binder with the pigment and paint with very thin brushes. This type of technology makes it impossible to use a thick layer of paint, so having in mind the right proportions of binder and pigment, I apply thin glazes, several or even a dozen times. In this way I achieve an authentic egg tempera effect, i.e. a semi-matte surface.”


Gallery Van Rij


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