The underpainting ... or "grisaille"

Most of the time when looking at a new painting I immediately see if somebody did an underpainting. A "grisaille". Because if you skip it, usually the balance between lights and darks is very hard to get right. Personally I think this is the main reason why the classical painters were often so much better than contemporary artists. Nowadays people just slam on some paint in some flashy colours, and question themselves why doesn't it look like Rembrandt...

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