Materials & Techniques
Oil paint is pigment ground with oil. Linseed oil is most commonly used, although poppy-seed and walnut oil are also suitable. Whereas tempera paint and frescos dry rapidly and require speedy paint application, oil paint takes much longer to dry. Artists in the 15th century exploited the medium's slow drying time in order to create highly detailed images that could be reworked over days or weeks. Artists and audiences also appreciated the brilliant colors produced by layering oil paint in thin glazes.
- Oil Paint
Watch this seven-minute, Smarthistory lesson on the history of oil paint, techniques for using the medium, and its distinctive visual characteristics.
- "Never Underestimate the Power of a Paint Tube"
Read Perry Hurt's May 2013 article for Smithsonian Magazine in which he explains the crucial role manufactured oil paint played in the development of 19th-century plein-air painting.
- “Painting in Oil in the Low Countries and Its Spread to Southern Europe”
Read this October 2002 essay by Susan Jones in Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History (Metropolitan Museum of Art).
- History of Oil Painting
Watch this educational YouTube video by Antiquity.tv.
- "Earliest Oil Paintings Discovered"
Check out this 2008 Live Science article debunking the myth that oil painting originated in Europe.