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Oil Painting

Oil painting is a type of paint which involves mixing crushed colour pigments usually with linseed oil, although poppy seed oil can also be used. The support on which it is painted must be covered with a primer beforehand so that the layer of paint can adhere to the support; an additional step which is crucial to the creative process and also means that it can be adapted to many types of surfaces.

It was during the Middle Ages that this technique first appeared and began to be develop in the Western world. The discovery of oil painting is often attributed to the Flemish painter, Jan Van Eyck who had been experimenting with various mixtures. With this new painting technique, his works benefited from new transparency effects and a new type of aesthetic was born. His approach was copied and later shared more widely by other primitive Flemish painters. Oil painting replaced the tempera technique, which uses egg as a binder.

Similarly, the wood on which artists painted was replaced by linen canvas, installed on a frame from the 15th century onwards and later placed on an easel. Although it was well-liked by painters, this medium had its drawbacks; its components were toxic and its preparation required a great amount of artisan savoir-faire in the studio. Despite this, it became closely linked to the visual arts and and was hugely popularised during the Renaissance thanks to the Venetian painters such as Titian, followed closely by the Flemish, including Rubens, before it reached the Netherlands who made it their own, with Rembrandt leading the way. The 19th and 20th centuries saw oil painting became the number one choice and the preferred medium for for modern times. The mixture no longer had to be prepared by artists in the studio; industrialisation had made things easier and the paint came pre-prepared, packaged in tubes. The tin tube was commercialised in France in 1840 and revolutionised the history of art by encouraging the Impressionists to take their brushes and paints outside and paint en plein air. It would slowly be overtaken by acrylic paint a century later which simplified things even further as it was dried faster.
An oil painting canvas also implies that the painter must respect the fat over lean principle, meaning that a colours with high oil content (fat) should be applied over layers of paint with lower oil content (lean) to ensure that the painting will last longer and to prevent cracking. Oil painting remains a widely used method and numerous artworks are still made using this technique.

Contemporary artists still master oil painting but sometimes avoid working with it in the same traditional ways of the 20th century. The canvas is often not prepared so that its texture can be seen under the layer of paint, as certain abstract painters have done. Jackson Pollock for example used oil painting but did not glaze his works. He didn't even truly paint his canvases as he used a dripping technique; by shaking his brush he created splashes of paint over the canvas…

On Artsper, explore contemporary paintings by well-known artists including Georges Terzian, Arman, Salvador Dali and Robert Combas.

Collector’s Guide: Collecting Paintings

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Shahram Nabati, Composition II, Painting

Shahram Nabati

Composition II, 2015
120 x 120 x 2 cm
Painting

$3,635

Liora, Lumière, Painting

Liora

Lumière, 2021
50 x 50 x 4 cm
Painting

$606

Antonino Puliafico, Riflessi di monti, Painting

Antonino Puliafico

Riflessi di monti, 2021
70 x 80 x 2 cm
Painting

$1,272

Daniel Castan, July and blue sky, Painting

Daniel Castan

July and blue sky, 2021
120 x 120 x 3 cm
Painting

$5,452

Aykaz Arzumanyan, Rose 466, Painting

Aykaz Arzumanyan

Rose 466, 2021
40 x 40 x 2 cm
Painting

$775

Laurent Bouro, Les arbres 1.9, Painting

Laurent Bouro

Les arbres 1.9, 2021
120 x 80 x 4 cm
Painting

$4,483

Muriel Averos, La Vague Noire, Painting

Muriel Averos

La Vague Noire, 2021
65 x 81 cm
Painting

$1,648

Daniel Despothuis, Vieille Rue de Tourettes sur Loup, Painting

Daniel Despothuis

Vieille Rue de Tourettes sur Loup, 2005
38 x 46 cm
Painting

$1,212

Thérèse Bosc, Rêve II, Painting

Thérèse Bosc

Rêve II, 2021
80 x 80 cm
Painting

$1,163

Françoise Dugourd-Caput, Objectif, Painting

Françoise Dugourd-Caput

Objectif, 2017
70 x 100 cm
Painting

$1,813 $2,132

Jérémie Iordanoff, Untitled 769, Painting

Jérémie Iordanoff

Untitled 769, 2021
60 x 81 cm
Painting

$1,418

Xavier Albert Fiala, Phoebus, Painting

Xavier Albert Fiala

Phoebus, 1945
116 x 89 x 1 cm
Painting

$1,105

Lucia Buccini, Jardin, potager et pommier, Painting

Lucia Buccini

Jardin, potager et pommier, 1995
45 x 55 x 3 cm
Painting

$1,090

Henry Meylan, Peintre à son chevalet peignant femme et enfant, Painting

Henry Meylan

Peintre à son chevalet peignant femme et enfant, 1949
55 x 46 x 2 cm
Painting

$969

Georges Darel, Paysage animé en bord de Seine, Painting

Georges Darel

Paysage animé en bord de Seine, 1925
54 x 63 x 2 cm
Painting

$766

André Lac, Barques en Cornouailles, Painting

André Lac

Barques en Cornouailles, 2006
24 x 33 cm
Painting

$775

Marta Zawadzka, In the garden, Painting

Marta Zawadzka

In the garden, 2021
90 x 90 x 2 cm
Painting

$2,302

Ralph Resch, River, Painting

Ralph Resch

River, 2021
100 x 81 x 2 cm
Painting

$1,078

Daniel Klein, Arbre en automne avec vue sur le lac, Painting

Daniel Klein

Arbre en automne avec vue sur le lac, 1970
46.5 x 33 x 2.5 cm
Painting

$473

B. Pàlf, Composition abstraite, Painting

B. Pàlf

Composition abstraite, 1967
80 x 59.5 x 0.5 cm
Painting

$1,003

E. Rosselli, La femme au turban jaune, Painting

E. Rosselli

La femme au turban jaune, 1947
56.5 x 46.5 x 2 cm
Painting

$845

Brigitte Demange, Tigre Blanc, Painting

Brigitte Demange

Tigre Blanc, 2021
90 x 130 cm
Painting

$7,875

Luigi Surdi, Il Colosseo e la Domus Aura, Roma, Painting

Luigi Surdi

Il Colosseo e la Domus Aura, Roma, 1942
55 x 66.5 x 1 cm
Painting

$992

Yasna Godovanik, Desert Becomes Heaven With You, Painting

Yasna Godovanik

Desert Becomes Heaven With You, 2021
100 x 70 x 2 cm
Painting

$878 $1,515

MacAmnaub, Composition abstraite, Painting

MacAmnaub

Composition abstraite, 1990
130 x 97 x 2 cm
Painting

$2,209

Edouard Jacques Dufeu, Vue d'une ville du Moyen-Orient, Painting

Edouard Jacques Dufeu

Vue d'une ville du Moyen-Orient, 1900
33.5 x 46 x 2 cm
Painting

$1,093

Zena Blackwell, Untitled, Painting

Zena Blackwell

Untitled, 2021
25.4 x 25.4 x 2 cm
Painting

$780

Rafal Gadowski, Parrots 07, Painting

Rafal Gadowski

Parrots 07, 2021
120 x 120 x 2.5 cm
Painting

$1,817

Maude Ovize, Murmures, Painting

Maude Ovize

Murmures, 2021
116 x 178 x 3 cm
Painting

$4,846

Renjie Gao, Portrait No.3, Painting

Renjie Gao

Portrait No.3, 2021
60 x 50 x 4 cm
Painting

$1,212

Richard Gower, Westminster Bridge...The Clouds, Painting

Richard Gower

Westminster Bridge...The Clouds, 2021
49 x 58 x 2 cm
Painting

$1,269

Manu Muñoz, Celebrating Something, Painting

Manu Muñoz

Celebrating Something, 2021
120 x 160 x 4 cm
Painting

$13,328

James Zamora, Snickers No. 6, Painting

James Zamora

Snickers No. 6, 2021
30.5 x 30.5 cm
Painting

$1,120

Mónica Castanys, In town 2, Painting

Mónica Castanys

In town 2, 2021
50 x 50 x 5 cm
Painting

$1,939

Serghei Ghetiu, Little ballerinas meet the summer bird, Painting

Serghei Ghetiu

Little ballerinas meet the summer bird, 2021
85 x 60 x 2 cm
Painting

$1,151

Joyce Fournier, Missing you, Painting

Joyce Fournier

Missing you, 2011
35.6 x 27.9 x 2.5 cm
Painting

$825

Irene Mahon, Bulles, Painting

Irene Mahon

Bulles, 2021
50 x 61 x 1.5 cm
Painting

$582

Patrick Cornée, Lion king, gold graffiti, Painting

Patrick Cornée

Lion king, gold graffiti, 2021
120 x 120 x 3 cm
Painting

$4,580 $5,089

Bastien Ducourtioux, Space oddity, Painting

Bastien Ducourtioux

Space oddity, 2020
80 x 60 x 2 cm
Painting

$957

Marc Dethier dit Moyo, Crépuscule incandescent, Painting

Marc Dethier dit Moyo

Crépuscule incandescent, 2021
50 x 60 x 2 cm
Painting

$1,090

Théo Le Franc, S16, Painting

Théo Le Franc

S16, 2021
30 x 30 x 2.5 cm
Painting

$424

Aukse Miliukaite, Gentle touch, Painting

Aukse Miliukaite

Gentle touch, 2021
90 x 80 x 2 cm
Painting

$1,454

Guy Ghazanchyan, #12 From Witness of 2020 Series, Painting

Guy Ghazanchyan

#12 From Witness of 2020 Series, 2021
65 x 50 x 2 cm
Painting

$1,442 $1,696

Marie France Garrigues, Rue Cortot, rus du Mont Cenis, Painting

Marie France Garrigues

Rue Cortot, rus du Mont Cenis, 2021
50 x 50 x 2 cm
Painting

$788

Isabelle Fournet, Écume, Méditerranée, Painting

Isabelle Fournet

Écume, Méditerranée, 2021
80 x 100 x 4 cm
Painting

$2,302

Patrick Pietropoli, Red Chair II, Painting

Patrick Pietropoli

Red Chair II, 2021
40.6 x 30.5 cm
Painting

$2,000

Evgeniya Kapatskaya, Protected by the Force, Painting

Evgeniya Kapatskaya

Protected by the Force, 2020
100 x 70 x 2 cm
Painting

$1,540

Helen Uter, Wee Saw, Painting

Helen Uter

Wee Saw, 2001
116 x 89 x 2.5 cm
Painting

$4,241

Diana Malivani, Lemon Tree, Painting

Diana Malivani

Lemon Tree, 2021
120 x 150 x 4 cm
Painting

$14,539

Danaé Couture, Hier est une Histoire, Painting

Danaé Couture

Hier est une Histoire, 2021
91.4 x 121.9 x 3.8 cm
Painting

$1,421

Gregory Malphurs, Bored of Directors 3, Painting

Gregory Malphurs

Bored of Directors 3, 2021
22.9 x 15.2 cm
Painting

$1,000

Josette Dubost, Arches Marines, Painting

Josette Dubost

Arches Marines, 2012
80 x 80 x 4 cm
Painting

$848

Corinne Foucouin, Plénitude, Painting

Corinne Foucouin

Plénitude, 2021
38 x 46 x 1.5 cm
Painting

$1,454

Viktor Gutsul, Presence (Night church), Painting

Viktor Gutsul

Presence (Night church), 2019
100 x 70 x 2.5 cm
Painting

$900

Timothy Archer, Sous les draps de l'impératrice, Painting

Timothy Archer

Sous les draps de l'impératrice, 2017
150 x 136.5 x 0.1 cm
Painting

$6,058

Elina Bilous, Pink Elephants, Painting

Elina Bilous

Pink Elephants, 2021
40 x 40 x 1.7 cm
Painting

$660

Marie-Laure Souq, Le soleil des tuileries, Painting

Marie-Laure Souq

Le soleil des tuileries, 2021
40 x 30 x 2 cm
Painting

$788

André Ferrand, Le bebe tigre, Painting

André Ferrand

Le bebe tigre, 2010
46 x 55 x 4 cm
Painting

$594

Marc Chalme, Orage, Painting

Marc Chalme

Orage, 2019
35.6 x 26.7 cm
Painting

$2,200

Richard Lillash, Vanitas, Painting

Richard Lillash

Vanitas, 2019
39.4 x 50.8 cm
Painting

$2,100

Alina Melnikova, Flying Bush I, Painting

Alina Melnikova

Flying Bush I, 2021
116 x 89 x 2 cm
Painting

$1,939

Artize, Regarder le vent, Painting

Artize

Regarder le vent, 2021
55 x 46 x 2 cm
Painting

$812

Svitlana Yetskalo, Tangerines, Painting

Svitlana Yetskalo

Tangerines, 2020
100 x 80 x 5 cm
Painting

$1,200

Jonathan Truss, Wish upon a star, Painting

Jonathan Truss

Wish upon a star, 2021
45 x 69 x 5 cm
Painting

$836

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