Art Principles and History

Art Fundamentals

What is the difference between oil paint and tempera paint?

Oil paints are made by mixing pigment into oil, often linseed or another vegetable-based oil. Oil paints create beautiful rich colors that can be easily blended because oil paints dry very slowly. During the late Renaissance, oil painting techniques were developed in the Netherlands and interest in oil painting spread slowly throughout the rest of Europe. In Renaissance Italy, especially Tuscany, tempera paints were preferred over oil and had been in use long before oil paints. Tempera paint is made by mixing pigment with egg yolk. It dries much more slowly than oil paint. Like oil paints, tempera paints create lovely rich colors.


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