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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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Sophie Petetin, Là bas magie de la nuit, Painting

Sophie Petetin

Là bas magie de la nuit, 2017
70 x 70 x 2.5 cm


Louis Magre, La Provence, Painting

Louis Magre

La Provence, 2013
60 x 73 x 3 cm

$1,669 $1,855

Yoann Merienne, Veheri, Painting

Yoann Merienne

Veheri, 2021
22 x 27 x 2 cm


Liora, Clin D'Oeil, Painting


Clin D'Oeil, 2021
72 x 60 x 2 cm


Thierry Carrier, Code 2101, Painting

Thierry Carrier

Code 2101, 2021
130 x 89 x 3 cm


Philippe Huart, Cadmium rouge vertige - Vortex 16, Painting

Philippe Huart

Cadmium rouge vertige - Vortex 16, 2019
30 x 30 cm


Françoise Dugourd-Caput, Intarissable, Painting

Françoise Dugourd-Caput

Intarissable, 2018
40 x 80 cm


Thérèse Bosc, Coup d'Éclat, Painting

Thérèse Bosc

Coup d'Éclat, 2021
80 x 80 cm


René Romero Schuler, Naren, Painting

René Romero Schuler

Naren, 2019
30.5 x 30.5 x 3 cm


Cristiano Sidoti, Viaduc Ouest, Painting

Cristiano Sidoti

Viaduc Ouest, 2014
50 x 60 x 3 cm


Percival Pernet, Jeune femme à la lecture, Painting

Percival Pernet

Jeune femme à la lecture, 1957
73 x 60 x 2 cm


Els Knockaert, Soatsaki, Painting

Els Knockaert

Soatsaki, 2021
80 x 80 x 5 cm


Jérôme Bouscarat, L'oiseau chasseur, Painting

Jérôme Bouscarat

L'oiseau chasseur, 2021
73 x 60 x 2 cm


Franco Mulas, Sunsets, Painting

Franco Mulas

Sunsets, 2013
63 x 64 x 3 cm


Henry Meylan, Le portrait familial, Painting

Henry Meylan

Le portrait familial, 1971
84 x 112 x 2 cm


Frédérique Assaël, Samuel, Painting

Frédérique Assaël

Samuel, 2021
130 x 97 x 3 cm


Ralph Resch, Résonance, Painting

Ralph Resch

Résonance, 2021
100 x 81 x 2 cm


Sabrina Viola, Les gondoles de Venise, Painting

Sabrina Viola

Les gondoles de Venise, 2021
150 x 120 cm


Rodolpho Tamanini Netto, Un Beaume, Painting

Rodolpho Tamanini Netto

Un Beaume, 2004
70 x 70 x 5 cm


René Tavares, Friends, Painting

René Tavares

Friends, 2015
140 x 140 cm


Joseph Mégard, Vue sur la campagne, Painting

Joseph Mégard

Vue sur la campagne, 1902
33 x 50.5 x 2 cm


Zong, Que la somme de nos actes, Painting


Que la somme de nos actes, 2021
70 x 90 x 2 cm


Blanche Bérat, Sur les chemins de campagne, Painting

Blanche Bérat

Sur les chemins de campagne, 2019
73 x 92 x 2 cm


Marta Zawadzka, Mont-Saint-Michel, Painting

Marta Zawadzka

Mont-Saint-Michel, 2021
120 x 180 x 2 cm


Helen Kennedy, Sans titre, Painting

Helen Kennedy

Sans titre, 1998
12 x 22 cm


André Lanskoy, La famille, Painting

André Lanskoy

La famille, 1940
14 x 19 x 1 cm

$3,673 $4,081

Franco Marzilli, Still Life, Painting

Franco Marzilli

Still Life, 1980
40 x 50 x 0.1 cm


Mauro Maugliani, Ring of Fire, Painting

Mauro Maugliani

Ring of Fire, 2021
100 x 100 x 3 cm


Franz Wanger, Artiste et modèle à l'atelier, Painting

Franz Wanger

Artiste et modèle à l'atelier, 1924
73 x 58 x 1 cm


Julien Wolf, Sans titre, Painting

Julien Wolf

Sans titre, 2020
140 x 110 x 5 cm


Gérard Bergerioux, Composition géométrique, Painting

Gérard Bergerioux

Composition géométrique, 1957
65 x 54 x 2 cm


Ludwig Bürgel, Paysage de campagne et étang, Painting

Ludwig Bürgel

Paysage de campagne et étang, 1958
30.5 x 40.5 x 1 cm


Axel Dubreille, Bleu de Loire, Painting

Axel Dubreille

Bleu de Loire, 1987
50 x 100 x 2 cm


Jérôme Desanti, Aliens, Painting

Jérôme Desanti

Aliens, 2021
116 x 89 x 2 cm


Georges Henri Chapot, Chemin de campagne, Painting

Georges Henri Chapot

Chemin de campagne, 1928
35 x 42 x 2 cm


Frédéric Goerg, Vue sur les toits, Painting

Frédéric Goerg

Vue sur les toits, 1940
37 x 37 x 2 cm


André René César Brechet, Coucher du soleil Pont Royal et Notre Dame, Paris, Painting

André René César Brechet

Coucher du soleil Pont Royal et Notre Dame, Paris, 1975
46 x 61 x 2 cm


Mimmo Monard, Ascension, Painting

Mimmo Monard

Ascension, 1966
64 x 76.5 x 2.5 cm


Adelin Charles Morel De Tanguy, Paysage Provençal, Painting

Adelin Charles Morel De Tanguy

Paysage Provençal, 1919
56 x 33 x 2 cm


Lucien Peri, Corse, l'embouchure du Liamone, Painting

Lucien Peri

Corse, l'embouchure du Liamone, 1940
61 x 81 x 1 cm


Edmond Li Bellefroid, Méduse, Painting

Edmond Li Bellefroid

Méduse, 2021
100 x 100 x 2 cm


Georges Myral, Construction géométrique #04, Painting

Georges Myral

Construction géométrique #04, 2020
120 x 60 x 4 cm


Diana Malivani, March. Mimosa, Painting

Diana Malivani

March. Mimosa, 2021
150 x 120 x 4 cm


R. Liegaut, Vue sur le Salève et l'Arve, campagne genevoise, Painting

R. Liegaut

Vue sur le Salève et l'Arve, campagne genevoise, 1926
38 x 53 x 2 cm


Mario Henrique, Somnium No. 5, Series IX, Painting

Mario Henrique

Somnium No. 5, Series IX, 2021
100 x 100 cm


Raymond Attanasio, 2 juin 2021, Painting

Raymond Attanasio

2 juin 2021, 2021
100 x 81 x 3 cm


Raya Sorkine, Le banquet, Painting

Raya Sorkine

Le banquet, 1990
27 x 22 x 2 cm


Glynne James, An Autumn to Remember, Painting

Glynne James

An Autumn to Remember, 2021
76.5 x 91.5 x 4 cm


Richard Gower, The Red Ball Brighton Beach, Painting

Richard Gower

The Red Ball Brighton Beach, 2021
50 x 60 x 2 cm


Lionel le Jeune, Sous-bois, Painting

Lionel le Jeune

Sous-bois, 2021
40 x 30 x 2 cm


Patrick Cornée, My Louboutins, my Ferrari and me, Painting

Patrick Cornée

My Louboutins, my Ferrari and me, 2021
100 x 100 x 3 cm

$3,561 $3,957

Zena Blackwell, Child, Painting

Zena Blackwell

Child, 2021
30 x 23 x 0.5 cm


Muriel Deumie, HIVERT, Painting

Muriel Deumie

HIVERT, 2021
46 x 55 x 2 cm


Pierre Riollet, Laura XXI, Painting

Pierre Riollet

Laura XXI, 2018
80 x 80 x 2 cm


Valérie Dragacci, Crepuscule rouge, Painting

Valérie Dragacci

Crepuscule rouge, 2021
46 x 55 x 2 cm


Serghei Ghetiu, Je suis ballerina III, Painting

Serghei Ghetiu

Je suis ballerina III, 2021
75 x 60 x 2 cm


Joseph, Love Story, Painting


Love Story, 2021
70 x 95 x 5 cm


Sax Berlin, Tanya the red: red rebel brigade, Painting

Sax Berlin

Tanya the red: red rebel brigade, 2021
121.9 x 91.4 x 5.1 cm


Su Yu, RMB, Painting

Su Yu

RMB, 2021
60 x 50 x 4 cm


Marko Klomp, Desert, Painting

Marko Klomp

Desert, 2010
100 x 140 x 2 cm


Ellis Ella, Energy swirl, Painting

Ellis Ella

Energy swirl, 2008
61 x 61 x 1 cm


Martin Leman, Cat on a Windowsill, Painting

Martin Leman

Cat on a Windowsill, 2021
40 x 46 x 3 cm


Nicolas Curmer, Face à la Mer 15 - 19 Mai, Painting

Nicolas Curmer

Face à la Mer 15 - 19 Mai, 2021
40 x 40 x 3 cm


Frederic Paul, Longing for Sun II, Painting

Frederic Paul

Longing for Sun II, 2021
110 x 110 x 3 cm


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