Let me elaborate.The History of Art is messy. Most movements are without manifestos. Styles cannot be neatly labelled. Artists and their Art are enigmas. Indeed, my first essay of term questioned how the scientific examination of paintings brings information to the discussion of authorship. Prior to this, I had no idea that artwork is so regularly subjected to such extensive analysis!For instance, if are under the impression that the Van Eycks invented oil painting then I am afraid Vasari has deceived you.Seeing Through Paintings, a surprisingly accessible read, reveals that oils have actually been utilized by artists from about the 6th Century. Although, admittedly, it was not until the 15th Century that drying agents, necessary for the paint to harden, were added. From the 1700s many more pigments became widely available. The 1840s saw the invention of the zinc tube that gave rise to en plein air painting. Following the Second World War, the production of commercially available Acrylic and PVA paints commencedMaterials available to artists, and accepted as art by the public, have so drastically evolved that we are left wondering “What is Art?” For example, just last week I was volunteering at a children’s workshop with theRoyal British Society of Sculptors when the question “what can sculpture be made from?” was posed. One little boy made his classmates laugh uncontrollably with the suggestion: “Light!” Yet, artists such as James Turrell have shown us even that is possible. Just pop over to Pace, London to see for yourself.So, how could I not think of Marc? With so many modern mediums available why does he practise traditional techniques?Recently, Marc explained to me that commercial oils contain fillers that sometimes weaken a colour’s tinting strength. This becomes apparent in the comparison of hand-ground and shop-bought black oil paint… the latter appears slightly grey. Thus, he considers it essential to make his own media of pigment and high-quality linseed or walnut oil:My second essay of the term considered aristocratic patronage and court artists.Parallels can be drawn between the traditions of gift giving in Renaissance Courts and the relationship Marc enjoys with his patrons. Did you know that Sofonisba Anguissola, the Cremonese female artist at the court of Philip II (1527-1598), was once given a four-faceted diamond upon the completion of a full-length portrait? Today, when Marc spends time at an Italian aristocrat’s estate, their thanks is often demonstrated with gifts of fine wine and olive oil. Image detailing that on a tax return!Such stays involve at least one portrait commission. In his studio, Marc usually works on portraits for two hours each day, but when undertaking such a commission in situ he tends to focus on this image alone. Although, inevitably the time individual clients are willing to pose for a painting greatly affects the speed of production.