From The Middle Ages to Modern Times: Egg Tempera in Art History

From The Middle Ages to Modern Times: Egg Tempera in Art History

Paper given by Doug Safranek

Delivered at the Art Students League of New York on 16 November 2016

For the first 1500 years of the Common Era, egg yolk thinned with water was the principal binder for paint in western art. With the introduction of linseed oil based mediums at the beginning of the 15th century, however, egg tempera quickly lost its popularity and was largely replaced by these new oil paints.

While it’s been utilised as a medium since the Florentine Renaissance, egg tempera never never completely disappeared from western art. It experienced a major revival during the 20th century with magic realist figurative painters, and today it continues to attract a growing number of artists who are drawn to its luminous surfaces and its clean, eco-friendly properties.

Doug Safranek received his MFA from the University of Wisconsin. His work is in a number of public and private collections, including the Frye Art Museum, the Norton Museum of Art, the Arkansas Art Center, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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