The first pictures made with paints that included oil are dated of 650 A. D., but the exact date of its creation is unknown. Oil paint is basically a pigment, a binder and a thinner, and development of all these three elements caused development of art processes during centuries.
Main facts about oil paints
This paint has several advantages that make it be one of the most popular now, even more popular than more practical acrylic paints:
- it provides a unique depth of colour;
- it doesn't change colour after drying;
- it is versatile and can be applied in different ways;
- because of slow drying artists can work at the painting for longer, create layers and make blending.
The main element of the paint is linseed oil. It dries by oxidation so the paint changes into the gel and then becomes hard. The main disadvantage about oil paint is that it takes long time to dry.
How paint changed through centuries
Development of oil painting had a strong influence on Early Renaissance painting. In that time tempera was the most popular paint, but as a result of experiments of Northern Europe and Italy painters who tried to add various pigments to oil this new paint became popular between artists. This made tempera to almost disappear by the end of 15th century though some artists like Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci continued using tempera mixing it with oil.
The 16th century was the time when canvas replaced wooden panels and artists started to explore new ways to paint. Up to the 17th century, colour pigments were almost the same and didn't offer great choice so artists had to experiment much and mix colours to get new shades. The main change in Baroque period of the middle of 17th century was the discovery of Egyptian Blue colour that replaced Cobalt.
In 18th century Rococo and Neoclassic art were in trend, and both of them benefited from opportunity to create realistic images that oil paints give. This was also the period when landscape painting was finally considered as a serious art — oil paints gave it possibility to display all the beauty and variety of colours of the nature.
With a beginning of Modern Art era in 19th century, development of manufacturing processes and improving quality of oil artists could use it in a new way. Some experts think that without new pigments the whole new schools and art movements could not have appeared.
By the end of 20th century and beginning of 21st, oil still remains the most popular paint that gives an artist a lot of ways to use it.
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