Braunfirnis

English translation: vernis brun (brown varnish)

GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
German term or phrase:Braunfirnis
English translation:vernis brun (brown varnish)
Entered by: Gerhard Wiesinger

00:31 Oct 8, 2016
German to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Art, Arts & Crafts, Painting
German term or phrase: Braunfirnis
In this context, the term is used to describe features of a reliquary from the Middle Ages:
The term appears in two sentences:
Dazu gehört eine zunächst in ***Braunfirnis*** ausgeführte, später in Email wiederholte Inschrift.
...
Es sind Emails, die gegenüber Treibarbeiten oder ***Braunfirnis*** als höherwertige Techniken galten
Gerhard Wiesinger
United States
Local time: 07:31
vernis brun (brown varnish)
Explanation:
The technique is usually translated using the FR term. Here's an example:

The back of each of the triptych's wings features a gilded copper plate exquisitely worked in vernis brun, a decorating technique for which Mosan artists were widely known and admired throughout the Middle Ages.

http://www.learn.columbia.edu/treasuresofheaven/relics/Tript...

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Note added at 9 mins (2016-10-08 00:40:56 GMT)
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On the front side, the outer border formed by two plaques is “vernis brun” with a simple dot design. The sides of the raised central area are covered with gilded copper stamped with a repeated curled leaf; the gilded copper over the flat area is stamped with a foliate scroll.

http://www.mfa.org/collections/object/hanging-reliquary-5229...

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Note added at 15 mins (2016-10-08 00:46:57 GMT)
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Another one: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/coll...

Selected response from:

Helen Shiner
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:31
Grading comment
Thank you very much that was a quick answer
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +1vernis brun (brown varnish)
Helen Shiner
3émail brun
Paul Cohen
Summary of reference entries provided
Braunfirnis - a definition in German
Paul Cohen

Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


7 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
vernis brun (brown varnish)


Explanation:
The technique is usually translated using the FR term. Here's an example:

The back of each of the triptych's wings features a gilded copper plate exquisitely worked in vernis brun, a decorating technique for which Mosan artists were widely known and admired throughout the Middle Ages.

http://www.learn.columbia.edu/treasuresofheaven/relics/Tript...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 9 mins (2016-10-08 00:40:56 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

On the front side, the outer border formed by two plaques is “vernis brun” with a simple dot design. The sides of the raised central area are covered with gilded copper stamped with a repeated curled leaf; the gilded copper over the flat area is stamped with a foliate scroll.

http://www.mfa.org/collections/object/hanging-reliquary-5229...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 15 mins (2016-10-08 00:46:57 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Another one: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/coll...



Helen Shiner
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:31
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 271
Grading comment
Thank you very much that was a quick answer

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  philgoddard: I never knew the French term was used.
1 min
  -> Thanks, Phil. Sounds much better than brown varnish ;)
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19 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
émail brun


Explanation:
Just like the devil, “Braunfirnis” has gone by a beguiling number of names over the years and many of them are French, including “laque brune”, “fond brun”, “fond brun-rouge” and, of course, Helen’s suggestion of “vernis brun”. Some French writers have even called it “peinture sur metal” and “simple vernis” – terms which should not surprise us today because linseed oil (which is typically used in “Braunfirnis”) was historically the main ingredient in paints and varnishes.

One French term that caught my eye is “émail brun”.

What is émail brun?

“Although émail brun resembles dark brown enamel, it is really something quite different. It is linseed oil which is painted on a clean, annealed piece of copper.

After drying, the layer is fired at a low temperature. After the first firing, the surface is a darkish brown. (...) Engraved lines and surfaces, not covered with linseed oil, were often gilded, thus contrasting beautifully with the chestnut brown surface.”
Source: http://www.goldman-arts.nl/index.php?id=89

And here is another description of the technique:
“Email brun (from French: "brown enamel") was developed in the Rhineland area around the time they adapted the champlevé technique. Contrary to the name, it is not an enamel technique rather a lacquering method like niello. A layer of linseed oil was applied to the surface of a copper base which turned a deep reddish brown on heating. Usually the brown layer was then engraved and the engraving was to be gilded. The thicker the applied linseed layer, the darker the final color would be.”
Source: http://university.langantiques.com/index.php/Émail_Brun

Despite the fact that “émail brun” is something of a misnomer because it’s not technically an enamel, the term crops up in a number of art texts. The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, for example, uses the term émail brun here in a description that, interestingly enough, contrasts figures made using émail brun with their enameled counterparts:

“The urna is unusual among surviving twelfth-century works for the extensive use of émail brun, the medium in which the roof panel is executed. (...) The émail brun panel shares qualities of design and decorative motifs with the enamel panel, but the style of its figures is quite distinct. These standing figures are considerably more lithe and their actions more animated than those of their enameled counterparts, suggesting that they were made later in the twelfth century.”
Source: The Art of Medieval Spain, A.D. 500-1200, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 1993, p. 278

The term is also used in this description of Buckfast Abbey in Devon, England:
"The tabernacled turrets of the Corona Lucis contain a total of thirty-six silver figures of angels and saints. The high wall is ornamented with floral scrollwork in bronze, and a dedicatory text in gold on a background of rare émail brun, an oil varnish burnt into the metal."
Source: http://www.buckfast.org.uk/site.php?id=70

And, finally, here is an image of an example of émail brun from the Abbey of Stavelot in Belgium. See: http://arhpee.typepad.com/Theophile par Gearhart.pdf
Description: “Portable Altar of the Abbey of Stavelot, 1150-1160. Underside, with émail brun.”


Paul Cohen
Greenland
Local time: 12:31
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 26
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thank you for providing this option. I had already used virnis brun when your answer arrived. Thanks also for all the references provided

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Reference comments


18 hrs peer agreement (net): +1
Reference: Braunfirnis - a definition in German

Reference information:
"Braunfirnis ist eine Technik polychromer Oberflächenbehandlung von Metallen (historisch stets: Kupfer und Kupferlegierungen), bei der in der Regel das Trägermetall mit einer organischen, leicht- bis zähflüssigen Substanz auf Leinöl-, Naturasphalt-, Holzteer- oder Wachsbasis beschichtet wird. Diese bildet nach Erwärmung und folgender Abkühlung einen festen Überzug (Reserviermittel), aus dem die Braunfirnismotive (Schrift, Ornamente, Figürliches) durch Ritzen, Schaben und ähnliche Verfahren freigelegt und anschließend vergoldet werden. Die Vergoldung kann bei Braunfirnis auf Kupfer durch Gravieren, Tauchverzinnen oder Tauschieren, bei Braunfirnis auf Messing oder Bronze durch das Auftragen von goldfarbenem Firnis oder von transparent verarbeitetem Braunfirnis ersetzt werden und entfällt mitunter ganz, wenn ein Träger metall von goldähnlicher Farbe (Messing, Goldbronze) verwendet wurde."

This definition stems from the link below, which leads you to a 7.5 MB PDF file with everything you ever wanted to know about "Braunfirnis" (but were afraid to ask).


    Reference: http://journals.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/index.php/jahrb-rgzm/ar...
Paul Cohen
Greenland
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 26

Peer comments on this reference comment (and responses from the reference poster)
agree  Helen Shiner
9 mins
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