Renaissance Discoveries: Oil Painting

The rise of oil painting in the 1400s marked a huge breakthrough in Western art. Mastery of the technique gave artists a much greater ability to portray colour and light convincingly, to texture their surfaces, and to add exquisite and incredibly lifelike details. Like linear perspective, invented around the same time, it cast over artists a spell that would last for centuries—one that would see them striving ever harder to imitate reality. So what was the secret of oil paint? How did its use come about? Ross King plunges back into history to look at myths and realities of this magical new artistic power.


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