What is a reverse painting?
A reverse painting is created by painting a subject onto one side of a sheet of glass (or plastified glass) after which it is viewed from the other side, or through the glass.
Contrary to painting on a canvas or similar support this technique requires an artist to paint in reverse, or in other words, ‘back to front.’
When an artwork is created on a support such as canvas or wood panel, it is painted from the same angle and direction that it will ultimately be viewed from on completion. However, in the case of a reverse painting, the painting side and the viewing side of the artwork are opposed to one another.
Similarly, an artwork that is created on a canvas usually begins with a rough outline and gradually builds towards its completion and finishing touches. In a reverse painting however, this procedure begins where it would normally end. This means that finishing touches such as finer details or the artist’s signature are usually applied first, and that the background applications of colour are added later.
Hence the use of the term ‘reverse painting’.
The effect that glass can give to a reverse painting can make it a very beautiful object.
For those who see a reverse painting on glass for the very first time it may take a little while to realise that what appears to be a painting under a sheet of glass is in fact an artwork that has been painted on the surface of the glass itself.
You can find more information by visiting the Reverse Painting FAQ or the links in the top right column of this page.