All About Enamel Painting and Its Origin

Enamel paints are the paints that the air dries to a solid, opaque finish. The term “Enamel Paint” itself does not have a generally accepted definition, but through the course of history it has been readily used to define any type of paint with distinctively glossy finish. However, due to the recent rise in popularity of latex and water based paints, “enamel paint” has thus evolved to refer to a type of paint that is hard surfaced with a very high gloss finish.

To be technically precise, the terminology “enamel paint” actually defines a colored shiny substance that merges to the surface of metal, glass or pottery for decoration or protection. Enamel paints are largely of two types: the first one being alkyd resin based and the second having been created by adding varnish to oil based paint. Making use of enamel paints to finish paintings has been quite a common practice throughout the ages.

A Brief History of Enamel Painting

  • The Establishment of Enamelling

The first ever application of enamel was on ductile metals and alloys such as electrum, silver and gold, and then as time went by, enamels were applied on bronze and copper as well. The production of enamel coated artifacts was limited to items of religious significance back when it was discovered over 3000 years ago. These items were produced for personal use and consisted of decoration pieces, jewelry etc. The earliest of records suggest that it started being used in Greece and neighboring areas (The Mediterranean region) between 1600-1400 BC.

If we recall the era of 1500 BC, in the Mycenaean area, then it can be easily concluded that the goldsmiths and glass workers explored a glass, which was a lookalike of stone and posses the quality of firm bonding that melts to gold and metal. A fighting weapon with sharply designed end contained enameled portions of that time and has been preserved securely in the museum of Athens. Only a few pieces available from that time period show matchless quality of craftsmanship. Moreover, in the archaeological digs, enameled objects have been recovered. The oldest and marvelous findings of enameled objects are settled in Cyprus (1500-1200 BC) which is highlighted as the golden age. A remarkably artistic object is the 16cm elongated golden wand with golden plated handle featured in 11 BC. Its attractive elliptical top is enameled with a blend of while, violet and pea green.  The technique of producing such an amusing piece of art out of gold and enamel is highly impressive.

All about enamel painting and its origin

In Etruria, Magna Grecian and Spain, specifically in Seville, there have been a few productions of enameled objects in 700 to 400 BC. Those works are commendably refined so that we get the real impression of their practical presence. The populations mentioned above used enameled based ornaments such as the harnessed buckles, sharp edgings, protective armors, artillery, jewels and talismans spreading their knowledge and skill during the time when their invasions held the potential to get boosted. The most ancient enameling was found in Germany during the Flavian dynasty. The technique of enameling has been tremendously spread through many routes. Firstly, it started in Mesopotamia and eventually reached Persia, the Caucasus and southern Russia. Second route successfully started from Greece and reached the Balkans, the Danube region and the Germans. Early in 3rd century, it clearly seemed that enameling was no more a part of roman knowledge. Both the Romans and barbarians played a great role in spreading of enameling on bronze.

In the 5th century, the barbarian invasion began and enameling became enhanced more in oriental style and had a lower degree of technological level. Enameling was technically born as cloisonné but many centuries passed away before enamel achieved a desirable level in expansion and bonding. Since then that’s how tidily, maturely and imposingly the enameling technique has been accomplished.

Speaking of today’s modern era, the techniques tend to become more and more industrial fading away the fashion of this art which requires longer edification times that the frantic lifestyles allow for. At the same time, surprisingly, enameling on iron develops especially for the production of household, road signs and poster designing, flooring the way for architectural coverings of interiors and exteriors.

  • Conclusion                                                                                          

Over wide period of 35 centuries, many enameling constructions have developed, making the way through many different populations discriminated by culture, religion, and social background. They have been engulfed, contemplated attentively, and strikingly spread by many schools and artistic movements. So, the antique adoration for this peculiarly noticeable art has overcome every kind of hindrance, reaching the world we reside in blissfully untouched.

Keeping the factual quality of enamel in mind about its finishing which are extremely smooth. This is the actually reason why it is preferred more than the regular itself. In fact, enamel paint is remarkably popular for showing surface imperfections almost remorselessly.

Few Precautions

All about enamel painting and its origin

During enamel painting, certain factors are to be kept in practice just in order to achieve the high quality of enamel finish:

  1. Be certain about the surface or object you are going to paint. It should entirely dry otherwise moisture will cause cracking and breaking on the surface.
  2. Make sure that there are no surface defects. The surface ought to be clean and barren of any bumps.
  3. The surface you desire to get enameled should be properly set to get painted. it truly requires of an oil based under coating which appropriately seals the ground.
  4. Lightly sand the primer before applying the first enamel paint coat and delicately scrap again after the first coat.
  5.  The tip of your brush should be resting along the area you are willing to paint. Essentially, it s advised to use the bristle brush at 30 degree so that it strikes appropriately. In particular, this process of using the brush stylishly is called “tipping off” the paint. It is sincerely suggested to use enamel horizontally than vertically as it is a self leveling paint giving it comparatively a well proportioned and dainty look.

Importance of Enamel Paint 

By delicately using enamel paint, you will come across a smooth, shiny and sharply refined surface of the specifically chosen object. Such a graceful, elegantly polished, and well expressed look will draw your attention as the qualities would be detailed. The attraction is grabbed when you experience a hard glossy finish. Enamel paint is ideal for painting glass, decorating clay pots and dishes.


About the author

Arlene is a passionate art lover, with interests including researching famous historic painters, oil paintings, wall arts, and doodling around with colors!

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