One of my favorite sites, Retronaut, recently featured a series of palettes belonging to famous painters. I once thought about collecting palettes from my artist friends but never got around to actually doing it. I have one palette that was last used ca. 1900, hanging on my studio wall. The artist cleaned it - leaving barely a trace of paint. But its graceful shape and patina makes it a work of art in its own right. It never fails to catch my eye. 
Most painters probably have dried up old palettes lying around. Palettes offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the artists' lives - their work habits; how they mixed their paints, organized colors, their training and even their lifestyles. The palettes below LOOK like the painters' paintings right down to the paint strokes.

Vincent Van Gogh (top) 
Eugene Delacroix (bottom)

Vincent Van Gogh (top) 
Eugene Delacroix (bottom)

Below: A fragment of a palette I used while taking a class in classical painting.
 Each color is broken down to ten shades. This is an example of a flesh palette based on Ingres.
The palette itself is glass mounted over a canvas board primed in a mid-tone gray.
Mixing is done at the bottom. I still prefer the old-style wooden ones. 

Grande Odalisque

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