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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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Daniel Castan, Piétons sur Braodway, Painting

Daniel Castan

Piétons sur Braodway, 2021
23.6 x 23.6 x 1.4 inch


Sylvie Guyomard, Accumulation XXIX (SG202), Painting

Sylvie Guyomard

Accumulation XXIX (SG202), 2020
39.4 x 39.4 x 1.2 inch


Liora, Sapphire 4, Painting


Sapphire 4, 2021
24 x 15 x 0.8 inch


Nicolas Monjo, Morceaux choisis, Painting

Nicolas Monjo

Morceaux choisis, 2021
35 x 45.7 x 0.8 inch


Laurent Bouro, Les arbres 1.7, Painting

Laurent Bouro

Les arbres 1.7, 2021
31.5 x 31.5 x 1.6 inch


Muriel Averos, Pause Deauville, Painting

Muriel Averos

Pause Deauville, 2021
25.6 x 36 inch


Daniel Despothuis, Peinture N°20, Painting

Daniel Despothuis

Peinture N°20, 2005
31.9 x 25.6 inch


André Bielen, L'Ecoute Intérieure, Painting

André Bielen

L'Ecoute Intérieure, 2021
15.7 x 31.5 inch


Aurélie Lafourcade, Nu sur mur gratté, Painting

Aurélie Lafourcade

Nu sur mur gratté, 2020
55.1 x 31.5 inch


Pierrick Tual, Mas du Midi, Painting

Pierrick Tual

Mas du Midi, 2021
19.7 x 19.7 x 0.8 inch


Arvid Boecker, #1409, Painting

Arvid Boecker

#1409, 2021
19.7 x 15.7 x 2.2 inch


Dann Aubert, Plexi’ Dann 2021. 04. 20, Painting

Dann Aubert

Plexi’ Dann 2021. 04. 20, 2021
19.7 x 27.6 inch


Jean-Yves Lautrédou, NII-4, Painting

Jean-Yves Lautrédou

NII-4, 2021
39.4 x 78.7 inch


Percival Pernet, Le Rhône à Genève - Ma jolie (Ile Rousseau et Pont du Mont-Blanc), Painting

Percival Pernet

Le Rhône à Genève - Ma jolie (Ile Rousseau et Pont du Mont-Blanc), 1958
29.9 x 34.6 x 0.4 inch


Ghislaine Ferreira, Girafe, Painting

Ghislaine Ferreira

Girafe, 2021
63.8 x 38.2 x 0.8 inch

$4,522 $5,024

Ralph Resch, Ré, Painting

Ralph Resch

Ré, 2020
31.9 x 45.7 x 1.2 inch


Thierry Lefort, Match dangereux, Painting

Thierry Lefort

Match dangereux, 2021
25.6 x 31.9 x 1.2 inch


Christine Lacour, Immensité du presque rien, Painting

Christine Lacour

Immensité du presque rien, 2021
19.7 x 15.7 x 0.8 inch


Benoit Havard, La pause de midi, Painting

Benoit Havard

La pause de midi, 2020
39.4 x 39.4 x 1 inch


Léon Georges Calves, Ramassage et transport de foin en charrette, Painting

Léon Georges Calves

Ramassage et transport de foin en charrette, 1900
16.1 x 13 x 0.6 inch


Osamu Obi, Gaze, Painting

Osamu Obi

Gaze, 2019
9.4 x 9.4 inch


Blanche Bérat, Un bon départ, Painting

Blanche Bérat

Un bon départ, 2018
35 x 45.7 x 0.8 inch


Luigi Venturi, Nature morte au navets et choux, Painting

Luigi Venturi

Nature morte au navets et choux, 1944
13.4 x 19.7 x 0.4 inch


Christian Jodin, Sphere zapping of colors, Painting

Christian Jodin

Sphere zapping of colors, 2021
19.7 x 19.7 x 0.4 inch


Jenny-Marguerite Zillhardt, Jeune compositeur en costume, Painting

Jenny-Marguerite Zillhardt

Jeune compositeur en costume, 1930
27.4 x 20.5 x 0.8 inch


Dumisani Karamanski, Comics: Guardian of Demons Terribly Ending Play, Painting

Dumisani Karamanski

Comics: Guardian of Demons Terribly Ending Play, 2021
70.9 x 59.8 x 1.2 inch


Olivier Messas, Méditation, Painting

Olivier Messas

Méditation, 2021
19.7 x 19.7 x 0.8 inch


Richard Gower, St Pauls Walk, Painting

Richard Gower

St Pauls Walk, 2021
22.4 x 30.3 x 0.8 inch


Michal Mraz, BBQ VI, Painting

Michal Mraz

BBQ VI, 2020
27.6 x 39.4 x 0.4 inch


Diana Malivani, L'éveil, Painting

Diana Malivani

L'éveil, 2021
59.1 x 94.5 x 1.6 inch


Karine Bartoli, Rue, Painting

Karine Bartoli

Rue, 2021
31.5 x 39.4 x 1.6 inch


Marta Zawadzka, Eleanor, Painting

Marta Zawadzka

Eleanor, 2021
39.4 x 39.4 x 0.8 inch


Maude Ovize, Jeux amoureux, Painting

Maude Ovize

Jeux amoureux, 2021
42.5 x 71.3 x 1.2 inch


Jane Grieco, Le jardin de Frida, Painting

Jane Grieco

Le jardin de Frida, 2021
63 x 47.2 x 1.2 inch


Agnès Tiollier, Fleurs de Magnolia, Painting

Agnès Tiollier

Fleurs de Magnolia, 2011
31.9 x 25.6 x 1 inch


Patrick Cornée, Honeymoon to Las Vegas, Painting

Patrick Cornée

Honeymoon to Las Vegas, 2021
14.2 x 14.2 x 0.8 inch

$1,017 $1,130

Mario Henrique, Materia No. 1, Series V, Painting

Mario Henrique

Materia No. 1, Series V, 2021
74.8 x 59.1 x 1.6 inch


Gilbert Pauli, Drapeaux de la paix n°61, Painting

Gilbert Pauli

Drapeaux de la paix n°61, 2006
15.7 x 11.8 x 0.8 inch


Guy Ghazanchyan, #7 from Witness of 2020 Series, Painting

Guy Ghazanchyan

#7 from Witness of 2020 Series, 2020
25.6 x 19.7 x 0.8 inch

$1,696 $1,884

Valérie Dragacci, Manhattan, Painting

Valérie Dragacci

Manhattan, 2020
10.6 x 13.8 x 0.8 inch


Jacques Martin, 349, Carrizozo, Painting

Jacques Martin

349, Carrizozo, 2020
27.6 x 39.4 x 1.6 inch


Kamsar Ohanyan, Summer morning, Painting

Kamsar Ohanyan

Summer morning, 2021
15.7 x 11.8 x 1.2 inch


Gérald Comtesse, Orage à Cudrefin, Painting

Gérald Comtesse

Orage à Cudrefin, 2003
36.6 x 44.5 x 0.4 inch


Angelo Pioppo, Watermelon Man, Painting

Angelo Pioppo

Watermelon Man, 2021
29.9 x 22 inch


Sébastien Couëffic, The shaded coast, Painting

Sébastien Couëffic

The shaded coast, 2021
16.1 x 13 x 0.4 inch


Solveiga, Week-end, Painting


Week-end, 2021
31.5 x 31.5 x 0.8 inch


Gabriel Monte, In The Mood Of Art Deco, Painting

Gabriel Monte

In The Mood Of Art Deco, 2019
31.5 x 31.5 x 0.6 inch


Meskar, Evasion, Painting


Evasion, 2021
39.4 x 39.4 x 0.8 inch

$2,374 $2,638

Yasna Godovanik, Dream Big, Painting

Yasna Godovanik

Dream Big, 2021
39.4 x 27.6 x 0.8 inch


Yasna Godovanik, Born for each other, Painting

Yasna Godovanik

Born for each other, 2021
39.4 x 27.6 x 0.6 inch


Marie-Laure Souq, Lumière sur les quais, Painting

Marie-Laure Souq

Lumière sur les quais, 2021
15.7 x 15.7 x 0.8 inch

$1,108 $1,231

Jean-Marc Amigues, Sans titre, Painting

Jean-Marc Amigues

Sans titre, 2021
23.6 x 53.1 x 1.2 inch


Peter Keizer, Before Midday, Painting

Peter Keizer

Before Midday, 2021
11.8 x 10.6 x 0.4 inch


Marie Raynaud, Venezuela, Painting

Marie Raynaud

Venezuela, 2021
39.4 x 39.4 x 0.8 inch


Marta Grassi, Rêve d'eau #3, Painting

Marta Grassi

Rêve d'eau #3, 2017
15 x 18.1 x 0.8 inch


Manoé, Solitude - série Abstraction, Painting


Solitude - série Abstraction, 2017
13 x 9.4 x 0.8 inch


Sabine Danzé, Monsieur de Paris, Painting

Sabine Danzé

Monsieur de Paris, 2021
31.5 x 23.6 x 1.2 inch


Rafal Gadowski, Blueberry, Painting

Rafal Gadowski

Blueberry, 2021
39.4 x 39.4 x 0.8 inch


Serghei Ghetiu, The Beauty of Santorini, Painting

Serghei Ghetiu

The Beauty of Santorini, 2021
39.4 x 31.5 x 0.8 inch


Tito Porazza, Carmen, Painting

Tito Porazza

Carmen, 2021
31.5 x 23.6 x 0.4 inch


Antoine Pauthe, Composition 19, Painting

Antoine Pauthe

Composition 19, 2019
39.4 x 39.4 x 0.8 inch


Corinne Foucouin, Horizon N 83 l'Isle 20-20, Painting

Corinne Foucouin

Horizon N 83 l'Isle 20-20, 2021
7.9 x 7.9 x 0.6 inch


Erwann  Tirilly, Ré, Painting

Erwann Tirilly

Ré, 2021
60.2 x 72.4 x 1.6 inch


Hunt Slonem, Macaws, Painting

Hunt Slonem

Macaws, 2020
20 x 16 inch


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