Oil Paints

Makinzie Harker

The Invention of Oil Paint

Painting with oil dates back to the Indian and Chinese painters of the 5th century. Although it was invented that far back, A Netherlandish painter named Jan van Eyck is credited with perfecting the technique.

Who Reinvented the Oil Paint

A Netherlandish painter named Jan van Eyck is recognized as "the father of oil painting". Some believe that he invented oil painting, but this is not the case. He did, however, achieve new and revolutionary effects and techniques with oil paints.

When Oil Paint was Invented

In many European art and history books, it is said that oil painting was invented in 15th century Europe. However, discoveries of ancient Buddhist paintings in caves disagree. There were murals of Buddhas in nature scenes with palm trees and mythical creatures. These paintings were possibly made with poppyseed and walnut oils. These murals are said to have been made around the 7th century.

how oil paints were used in the Renaissance

Prior to the Renaissance, paints were made by mixing a dry pigment with a medium, mostly egg yolk. This changed in the 15th century, when artists began mixing pigments with walnut or linseed oil to create paints. This mixture dried slower than the old method. Oil paints also began to become popular during the Renaissance because a greater understanding of depth and perspective called for more realism in painting. The luminosity and plasticity of oil paints greatly improved effects of color and realism.

How Oil Paints Have Changed

Oil paints haven't changed so much since the Renaissance. They are still mainly made with the medium of linseed oil, and they still have a long dry-time. Now, most oil paints are made by machine. There are a few delicate pigments that must be mixed by hand, but that is not much anymore. Making oil paints by machine causes the colors to be much greater and vibrant, and the machine process is far more effective. The technique itself hasn't changed much, but paintings will. When paintings are made with oil, the painting gradually begins to change. Over the course of decades or centuries, colors will fade, darken, or become more transparent. Many classic paintings from the Renaissance have now changed more than we may think.