Art of Enamelling

What is enamel, and how to create a painting of enamel?

Enamel is an organic combination between silicates and different oxides of metals. After the smelting brand and cooling of the glasslike mixture, one can create fascinating illuminated colours, when sufficient lighting is ensured.
Further advantages of enamel are

  • its hard and shining surface, free of pores,
  • its lasting nature against environmental influences, since it is acid proof, weather- and corrosion-resistant, as well in variation in tem-peratures,
  • its unlimited resistance to wear, since its firmness against scratches and strokes, also easily to clean and therefore
  • iits practical unlimited lifetime.

Enamels for art and craft are so called "art-enamels", in differentiation to "in-dustrial enamels" and those for jewellery. For the underground copper is widely used, but brass, silver and gold are suitable as well.

More is to find under Wikipedia (
Nowadays art-enamels are ties together with the underground in a smelting furnace by temperatures between 700°C and 820°C.
Art-enamels are available in form of non-transparent opaque colours, of transparent colours and of semitransparent opal colours.
Regarding their smelting-temperature the art-enamels are divided between soft (700-730°C), middle hard (730-770°C) and hard enamels (770-820°C).

The realization of the repeated smelting the enamels on the underground mostly takes place from "hard" to "soft". The reason is, that soft-colours get a "burning out", when temperatures are too high. The consequences are changes of colours and stained patterns, which is mostly unwanted.
For flat paintings it is advisable, at first to make a so called "contra-enamelling" on the back of the copper-ground. By this way, tensions as result of different expansion of copper and enamels by heat are reduced.
Many transparent and opal-enamels need pre-treatment with a fondant-transparent enamel on the front side of the copper too, before starting the real art-enamelling.
For the paintings, showed in this website, the pre-treatment with fondant enamel was generally used, in order to fix small copper-wires through the smelting fondant-enamel as demarcation and design.

About the history

The art of enamelling is very old. The eldes find t is a jewellery from the 12th century B.C. in Cyprus. The old Egypt's and Celts mastered the art of enam-elling too.

Some progress attained the enamelling about 1000 years ago as the so called "Cloisonné". The enamel powder had been smelted in the fire several times in deepenings, until the wanted thickness of enamels had been reached.
One testimony of this technology, for instance, is the altar-painting "Pala d'oro" at the Cathedral St. Marcus in Venedig.

In the 16th century a. Ch. the so called paint-enamel in Limoges, France, come into existence.

At the end of the 17th century Enamel has became an essential part of gold- and silversmith art. Here, to be reminded, for instance, to the artist Georg Friedrich Dinglinger (1666-1720), a brother of the well known goldsmith Melchior Dinglinger at the "Court of Dresden". Both worked, as ordered by August the Strength, a Saxon Elector and King of Poland. Today, pieces of their art are to be seen at the "Grünes Gewölbe" in Dresden.

In the 19th century the old art of enamelling came to life again. Centres were among others European cities like Aachen, Cologne, Brussels, Lyon and Paris. But also artists from Japan, China and India have been using this technology again.

In the 60th till 80th of the last century the artistic enamelling became a wide spread popular art and craft in the East and West of Germany, as well for jewellery as for commodity items. Mostly the gas-flame for smelting was used.

Today the painting of enamel is not common, but very specialized.
Currently active artists of enamels, for instance, are organized by the patron-age of the "Kunstverein Coburg e.V." (