Oil Painting


Oil has been the most consistently and widely used medium in the tradition of Western painting. Its use in Europe dates from at least the 12th century A.D.; however, the clarity and precision in color and three-dimensional form that the medium enabled was mastered by Dutch painters such as Jan Van Eyck in the 15th century. The shift towards oil paint over egg tempera, and then towards canvas over wood panel, occurred over the course of the next century in southern Europe as well, most notably amongst Venetian School painters such as Titian and Tintoretto. The subsequent history of oil painting is filled with countless stylistic and technical innovations: these include Caravaggio's use of chiaroscuro lighting, the layering of impasto brushwork by Rembrandt van Rijn, new forms of mark-making under Impressionism and later Abstract Expressionism, the bright and vivid colors of Fauvism, and the incorporation of everyday materials into the canvas by Neo-Dada artists Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg.