Why wax paintings on glass ?

Choosing the technique

Several years ago, as I was visiting the Louvres, I came across the Fayoum portraits. They are a set of paintings made between the first and 4th century AD in Roman Egypt. They are funerary portraits painted and inserted into wrappings applied onto the face of the mummy. The first paintings were discovered in the Fayoum, a region of Egypt which gave its name to this type of painting. The Fayoum portraits are the only specimen of easel painting which we have inherited from the Antiquity. They are the most ancient portraits ever discovered. What first strikes the viewer is the transparency and the intensity of the color which has endured throughout centuries with an incredible freshness. These paintings were made with wax, a medium which best respects the vibration of the pigment. I immediately thought that I must try this technique, for my main motivation in painting is the radiance of the color emanating from the picture.

Choosing the support

At the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisboa, I discovered a small painting from the 18th century which was painted on glass. It attracted my attention because it was so bright that I thought that there was some sort of lightening behind it. But as I came closer I realized that there was no light: it was the effect of the color applied directly onto the back of the pane. I tried the same technique in my studio as soon as I could and I noticed that it enabled to visualize each of the painter’s gesture and the superposition of the layers of paint from the beginning of the painting to its completion, which made the work much richer.