The Historical Museum of Arts

Presents the Renaissance Art Techniques

Renaissance Art Techniques

There were many different art techniques that arose during the middle ages, but the three main forms were fresco, tempera, oil, and perspective. At this exhibit you can learn all about these techniques.

Historical Museum of Art

Join us as we take a trip back in time to the renaissance and learn all about the different techniques of painting.


A fresco painting is when an artist uses a mix of water and pigments to paint onto wet plaster. The mixture and plaster blend together to make the painting and the wall one. The reason fresco was a popular from was because it was very durable. Since the painting and wall were one, the picture did not wear as easy as it would if painted on canvas. Since the artist is working with wet plaster, he must work faster and not make mistakes because if he does he must scrape that plaster off and start over.


Tempera painting was a mix of pigment and eggs to create a durable paint. The colors were very limited. Tempera was one of the most popular techniques for murals. The mix of pigment and egg dried very quickly and formed a tough outer coating. When an artist tempera painted they would have many different layers of paint that led to a finished piece that had a lot of depth and color. Tempera painting declined after the creation of oil painting.


Oil painting first became popular in the fifteenth century. Since oil is slow drying it was easy to fix mistakes and add things to a painting. Unlike fresco painting, oil made it easy to create translucent effects because the oil could be applied lightly like a glaze. Oil gave artist the ability to paint with a wider variety of colors, which made painting humans, architecture, and nature look more realistic.


Perspective painting gave artist the ability to create space with their paintings by the way they placed humans, buildings, and things in the environment. Artists added depth and the illusion of roundness to flat walls. This let the painting come to life, the blurred edges of things in the distance gave the same effect the atmosphere does to our eyes. Using faded colors help give depth to the painting.