Skip navigation
NADFAS logo

FROM ENCAUSTIC TO ACRYLIC: How Paint made Art

When you look at a painting, what do you see? A view, a portrait, something abstract maybe? It is, of course, nothing of the sort: just an illusion made from a skin of paint!

Buon fresco allowed artists to decorate the vast new Christian basilicas, Renaissance palaces and civic halls. Tough egg tempera was ideal for altar panels. Rich gouache was the perfect paint for illuminations on vellum and paper.

Without oils the Mona Lisa would not be mysterious, without modern manufacturing processes Impressionism would never have existed, and Jackson Pollock could not have 'splashed and dripped' without industrial car paints.

By examining some key works from Western Art history we will discover the important role materials and their techniques play in our understanding and enjoyment of Art.