Making and Materials – Oil Paint

CPS Week Eight

First used in Asia oil paints date back to the 7th century, being used in Buddist paintings and decorating shields in Afghanistan. It was first used in Europe for decoration in the 12th century but, by the 15th century it had become a commonly used material in art. Known for their thickness and long drying times oil paints are still widely used today.

“Flesh is the reason oil paint was invented”

Willem de Kooning 1904 – 1997

Dutch painter Jan van Eyck who was once mistakenly credited as being the “Inventor of oil painting” due to a quote from Giorgio Vasari has been said to be the first master of oil painting and had a large role to play in the early days of oil painting in Europe. Van Eyck’s work went on to inspire Italian painter Antonello da Messina is said to have introduced oil paints to Italy. Active during the early Renaissance Antonello da Messina studied the surfaces of van Eyck’s paintings and recreated them within his own work.

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Arnolfini Portrait 1434 – Jack van Eyck


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Virgin Annunciate – Antonello da Messina

The use of oil paints did not stop after the Renaissance and were continued to be used in many infamous pieces of work. Vincent Van Gogh used oil paints on canvas to create ‘The Stary Night’. The thickness of the paint allowed for a textured finish.

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The Starry Night – Vincent Van Gogh (1889)


History of Oil Painting – History of oil painting (

7 Facts About Oil Paints – 7 Facts About Oil Paints – Seaside Art Gallery

Author: Daizi Davies

My name is Daizi Davies and I am 19 years old from Cardiff. I like to draw inspiration for my art from my personal life and the challenges I face day to day. I like to experiment with many different mediums but the common link that all my work has is that it is highly autobiographical. My main aim with anything I create is to tell a story and make whoever is viewing it feel something. I am currently studying Fine Art at DeMontford University and I hope to grow as an artist as well as learn new things that will help me in my future as an artist.

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