oil painting

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oil painting

1. a picture painted with oil paints
2. the art or process of painting with oil paints

Oil Painting


the art of painting in oil colors, sometimes with the use of varnishes. Oil painting is done mainly on canvas; however, cardboard, wood, and metal that have been covered with a special ground (easel painting), as well as gesso (mural painting), can also be used as supports. Of all painting techniques, oil painting most successfully achieves the illusion of volume and space on a flat surface, rich color effects, tonal depth, and expressive and dynamic brushwork. Various brush techniques can be used in the application of oil paints. The brushstroke can be opaque or transparent, uniformly thick or textured, or thin and smooth. Prior to the 19th century, oil painting consisted of the application of many layers of color mixed with varnish, which was followed by a coat of varnish. Since the early 19th century, the oil technique has consisted mainly of the application of colors alia prima on a clean ground or over a layer of underpainting. Varnish is rarely used.

Information about oil painting has been found in ancient and medieval manuscripts. In the first third of the. 15th century, easel painting in oil became widespread, particularly after the technique was improved by J. van Eyck. Since the 16th century, oil painting has been the most popular painting technique.


Berger, E. Istoriia razvitiia tekhniki maslianoi zhivopisi. Moscow, 1961. (Translated from German.)
Luzhetskaia, A. N. Tekhnika maslianoi zhivopisi russkikh masterov s 18 po nachalo 20 veka. Moscow, 1965.


oil painting

[′ȯil ′pānt·iŋ]
(graphic arts)
A method of painting in which pigments are bound together, and to the canvas, by a drying oil; the oil, usually linseed, is thinned with solvents such as turpentine and mineral spirits; the pigments should dry in linseed oil to form an acceptably strong paint film.
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