History: TemperaTempera: pigment mixed with water-soluble glutinous materials such as size and egg yolk
Paint as an art medium has a history that extends far back into human history. The cave paintings of the Paleolithic era are the earliest examples of the use of tempera paints as a decorative medium. Ancient humans were able to create a wide variety of animal forms, although they had a limited number of colors: only red, red-brown and black. With the dawn of civilization, people began to use paint to decorate the interiors of houses and shrines. As the use and techniques of painting began to expand, so did the artistís ability to manipulate the medium to satisfy his demands. By 79 CE, artists in the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were using tempera paints in both wet and dry plaster, techniques called true fresco, and fresco secco respectively. These techniques were high in demand and required a sufficient amount of skill. Other skillful techniques that involved the use of tempera paints include: muraling, paneling, and the decorating of sacred texts and manuscripts.
Tempera experienced the height of popularity during the Early Renaissance period when such masterpieces as the ceiling fresco of the Sistine Chapel and the Last Judgment were painted. Tempera gradually declined in popularity due to the invention of oil paints. Yet its use was still retained for large wall decorations.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the use of tempera and frescos underwent a huge revival due to a school of Mexican muralists. Today, temperas are still used to decorate large wall areas, as well as paper and smaller crafts. Overall tempera has proven to be an enduring medium in the painting realm. The ease with which tempera can be manipulated, even when used with other materials, enables the medium to survive the development of newer products.
|13,000-15,000 BCE||Lascaux, France cave paintings|
|79 CE||City of Pompeii is buried by an eruption of the volcano Mount Vesuvius, preserving the city under many feet of ash|
|1367 CE||A tempera on wood by Niccolo Semitecolo|
|1400ís CE||Oil paints introduced|
|1481 CE||The Sistine Chapel commissions ceiling and wall frescos|
|1950ís CE||Acrylic paints become commercially available|