Oils were king until the 1960s, when acrylic paints became readily available. How do they differ from oils, though?
Since the decline of egg tempera and fresco in the Renaissance, oil paints have predominated. They rely on drying oils as their binder, which give them longevity and versatility.
A summary chronology of the major milestones in the history of oil painting, with copious illustrations from the masters.
Finally, we start to understand how oil paint works – just as Modernist painters seem determined to stop it from working at all.
In America, geographic isolation and growing freedom led to the craft of oil painting being smothered by artistic intent. Here are some results.
Oil sketches and studies became accepted as works of art. But not all Impressionist paintings have survived as well as they should.
Turner’s innovation was driven by his desire to explore colour contrasts and texture. But it led him to lapses in technique which have damaged his paintings.
Putting oil paint into bladders allowed painters to take it out for use outdoors. But adding some media caused paintings to age badly and fall apart.
His later paintings in particular were the first major works to exploit the visual effects produced by surface texture. How?
Rubens’ methods were extensively documented by a contemporary. Do they reveal or conceal any dark secrets?