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Oil Paintings

In the early 15th century, Jan van Eyck and his Flemish peers popularized the use of linseed oil to carry pigments. By the 16th century, oil painting had replaced tempera almost completely and artists were using it to create life-like renderings of their world. Oil has kept its place as the medium of choice in painting through contemporary times.

Oil paint has a jewel-like translucence in comparison to the flat, bright colors and velvety opacity of the egg tempera that it replaced. Artists can apply oil paint in thin, glowing layers to achieve an extremely life-like sense of depth. They can also build it into heavy, textured impasto that projects out from the surface. Oil dries slowly, so the artist can manipulate it after the paint is applied.

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