31 October 2012
The History of Oil Painting
From the time of the Greeks the chemistry of art and the chemistry of medicine were closely related. Monks kept these recipes throughout the early centuries of Christianity until their broader use outside of the monasteries in the middle ages. The use of drying oils is recorded among these recipes, listing walnut oil, poppy oil, hempseed oil, castor oil, and linseed oil as glazes to seal pictures and protect them from water. It also thickens, they become gummy and therefore worked as varnishes quite well. Later on yellow pigments were added to the oil and it was spread over tin foil to mimic the look of gold leaf, it was a less cost. Early as the thirteenth century oil was used for painting details over tempera pictures. The oldest Mediterranean civilization, Greek, Roman or Egyptian have extensively used painting techniques based on mixtures of encaustic, mineral pigments and tempera. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks or Romans knew Vegetable oils, such as flax, walnut or poppy seed oil, but no precise indication of their use in painting may be found. Tempera is a fluid mixture of binder, water and volatile. At the end of the roman empire and up to the Renaissance in the 15th century, this ancient technique was lost and replaced by oil paint or tempera. In Italy and Greece, olive oil was used to prepare pigment mixtures but the drying time was excessively long and boring in the case of figures. This drawback led a German monk, Theophilus , in the 12th century to warn against paint recipes Including olive oil. It was reported that Aetius Amidenus , a medical writer in 5th century mentioned the use of a Villa 2
drying oil as a glaze on paintings. Similarly, it seems that perilla oil was used in Japan in painting after addition of lead in the 8th...