Materials & Techniques
Tempera (egg and casein)
Tempera paints are a mixture of powdered dry pigments with water and either egg yolk (egg tempera) or milk proteins (casein tempera). Tempera paint dries quickly and once dry, it is extremely durable. Its longevity over time depends on the permanence of the ground (a prepared surface on which to apply the medium) and the interaction between the paint and other topical treatments such as varnishes.
Watch this twelve-minute, Smarthistory lesson on the history of tempera paint, techniques for using the medium, and its distinctive visual characteristics.