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FROM ENCAUSTIC TO ACRYLIC: A Sticky Story of Paint Media


One of the principle requirements of paint media is that it is invisible. No wonder it often is overlooked! We are familiar with paintings being described as oils on canvas or tempera on panel, but might be surprised to discover the importance of this invisible sticky stuff to the history of art.

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, as well as looking at paints, media and brushes, we will discover the important role materials and their techniques play in our understanding and enjoyment of Art.