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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.


Quick Facts

  • Beginning in the mid-20th century, oil painter artists began using household gloss paint instead of linseed oil paint
  • Damien Hirst’s workshop uses gloss paint for his dot paintings. These paints dry fast, but their colors are less stable over time and are a worry for conservators
  • Leonardo used his fingers to blend oil paint he had applied. Visitors can see the Renaissance master’s fingerprints in "Ginevra di’ Benci," c. 1474/78, at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Recommended Items at Auction

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P.R. McINTOSH OIL ON CANVAS
Oct 26, 6:00 PM PDT
P.R. McINTOSH OIL ON CANVAS
by O'Gallerie
Est: $400- $600
$2502 Bids
Sesia Giovanni - Senza titolo, 1992
Nov 06, 2:30 PM CET
Sesia Giovanni - Senza titolo, 1992
by Aste Brina
Est: €2,500- €3,000
€1,0000 Bids
Brindisi Remo - Pastorale
Nov 06, 2:30 PM CET
Brindisi Remo - Pastorale
by Aste Brina
Est: €400- €500
€3000 Bids
Brindisi Remo - Abbraccio
Nov 06, 2:30 PM CET
Brindisi Remo - Abbraccio
by Aste Brina
Est: €400- €500
€3000 Bids
Alinari Luca - Senza titolo
Nov 06, 2:30 PM CET
Alinari Luca - Senza titolo
by Aste Brina
Est: €800- €1,000
€5000 Bids
Cremonini Leonardo - Le nuvole serene, 1956
Nov 06, 2:30 PM CET
Cremonini Leonardo - Le nuvole serene, 1956
by Aste Brina
Est: €800- €1,000
€5000 Bids
Scatizzi Sergio - Paesaggio
Nov 06, 2:30 PM CET
Scatizzi Sergio - Paesaggio
by Aste Brina
Est: €1,400- €1,600
€6000 Bids
Longfils Enrico - Da Ulisse, l'offerta, 1990
Nov 06, 2:30 PM CET
Longfils Enrico - Da Ulisse, l'offerta, 1990
by Aste Brina
Est: €150- €200
€500 Bids
Beck Simone - Il fiume, 2006
Nov 06, 2:30 PM CET
Beck Simone - Il fiume, 2006
by Aste Brina
Est: €200- €300
€500 Bids
Zavattini Cesare - Figure a confronto
Nov 06, 2:30 PM CET
Zavattini Cesare - Figure a confronto
by Aste Brina
Est: €800- €1,000
€6000 Bids
Giordano Felice - Senza titolo
Nov 06, 2:30 PM CET
Giordano Felice - Senza titolo
by Aste Brina
Est: €1,200- €1,400
€7000 Bids
Brindisi Remo - Venezia
Nov 06, 2:30 PM CET
Brindisi Remo - Venezia
by Aste Brina
Est: €600- €800
€4000 Bids
Brindisi Remo - Venezia
Nov 06, 2:30 PM CET
Brindisi Remo - Venezia
by Aste Brina
Est: €600- €800
€4000 Bids
Cremonini Leonardo - La costa bretone, 1956
Nov 06, 2:30 PM CET
Cremonini Leonardo - La costa bretone, 1956
by Aste Brina
Est: €1,200- €1,400
€1,0000 Bids
Paul Huxley "Untitled No. 70" Modern Oil on Paper
Nov 07, 12:00 PM EDT
Paul Huxley "Untitled No. 70" Modern Oil on Paper
by Showplace
Est: $600- $800
$1000 Bids
Impressionist Beach Scene, Oil on Canvas
Nov 07, 12:00 PM EDT
Impressionist Beach Scene, Oil on Canvas
by Showplace
Est: $300- $500
$1000 Bids
Paul Crotto Canal Scene French Oil Painting
Nov 07, 12:00 PM EDT
Paul Crotto Canal Scene French Oil Painting
by Showplace
Est: $300- $500
$1000 Bids
Mellone Dario - Due figure nel metrò, 1988
Nov 06, 2:30 PM CET
Mellone Dario - Due figure nel metrò, 1988
by Aste Brina
Est: €400- €500
€1000 Bids
THÉODORE GÉRICAULT (Rouen 1791-1824 Paris) Jument noire à l'Écurie.
Nov 03, 12:00 PM EDT
THÉODORE GÉRICAULT (Rouen 1791-1824 Paris) Jument noire à l'Écurie.
by Swann Auction Galleries
Est: $40,000- $60,000
$30,0000 Bids
HENRI-JOSEPH HARPIGNIES (Valenciennes 1819-1916 Saint-Privé) Coucher du Soleil.
Nov 03, 12:00 PM EDT
HENRI-JOSEPH HARPIGNIES (Valenciennes 1819-1916 Saint-Privé) Coucher du Soleil.
by Swann Auction Galleries
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$1,5000 Bids
HENRI-JOSEPH HARPIGNIES (Valenciennes 1819-1916 Saint-Privé) Le Petit Rivière.
Nov 03, 12:00 PM EDT
HENRI-JOSEPH HARPIGNIES (Valenciennes 1819-1916 Saint-Privé) Le Petit Rivière.
by Swann Auction Galleries
Est: $3,000- $5,000
$2,2000 Bids
BARTOLOMEO BISCAINO (Genoa 1632-1657 Genoa) The Death of Adonis.
Nov 03, 12:00 PM EDT
BARTOLOMEO BISCAINO (Genoa 1632-1657 Genoa) The Death of Adonis.
by Swann Auction Galleries
Est: $5,000- $8,000
$3,6000 Bids
Amstrong Signed Beach Scene Oil on Canvas
Nov 07, 12:00 PM EDT
Amstrong Signed Beach Scene Oil on Canvas
by Showplace
Est: $800- $1,200
$1000 Bids
Mikhail Aleksandrov "Psyche" Oil on Board
Nov 07, 12:00 PM EDT
Mikhail Aleksandrov "Psyche" Oil on Board
by Showplace
Est: $1,000- $2,000
$1000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Oil Paintings


Aste Brina

Aste Brina

Showplace

Showplace

Swann Auction Galleries

Swann Auction Galleries

O'Gallerie

O'Gallerie