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Alla-prima is a painting technique in which layers of wet paint are applied on top of previous layers that are still wet, resulting in a work completed in a single session. This method, also known as direct painting or wet-on-wet, is characterized by a spontaneous, expressive approach that captures the essence of the subject through bold, visible brushstrokes and a sense of immediacy. Historically associated with the impressionist movement, alla-prima gained popularity among artists seeking to convey the fleeting effects of light, color, and atmosphere in their plein air landscapes and portraits. The technique requires a confident, decisive application of paint, as the artist must work quickly to establish the composition, values, and colors before the paint dries. Mastering alla-prima involves developing a keen understanding of color mixing, brush handling, and the ability to simplify complex forms into their essential elements. While the technique presents challenges in terms of blending and achieving fine details, it offers artists a means of creating vibrant, energetic paintings that showcase the inherent qualities of the medium and the artist's unique gestural style. Contemporary artists continue to employ alla-prima across various genres, from still lifes to abstracts, testament to its enduring appeal as a direct, intuitive mode of artistic expression.

painting technique, wet-on-wet, direct painting, impressionism, plein air, brushstrokes, color mixing

John Armstrong

CITATION : "John Armstrong. 'Alla-prima.' Design+Encyclopedia. (Accessed on July 22, 2024)"

Alla-prima Definition
Alla-prima on Design+Encyclopedia

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