The History of Oil Paintings - Oil Painting Reproduction Company

January 29, 2019

The History of Oil Paintings - Oil Painting Reproduction Company


photography, art, oil paintings, paintings, history of oil paintings

The origins of oil painting date back more than a thousand years and is an artistic practice that’s been utilized everywhere around the world.

One of the earliest examples of the practice reaches back to the 5th century A.D., when Chinese and Indian artists created hundreds of oil paintings in caves located in the Bamian Valley of Afghanistan. 

However, it wasn’t until about the 15th century when oil painting made its way to Northern Europe and achieved its widespread prominence that’s known today. In fact, an artist from the Netherlands, Jan Van Eyck, is mostly accredited with the discovery of the practice after experimenting oil painting techniques on his wood panel creations, which include the famous Arnolfini wedding portrait. 

The practice eventually took off and swept through the rest of Europe to replace tempera painting, which was the most popular medium at the time, as well as becoming the medium most commonly associated with famous artwork from the Renaissance period. 

Today, thousands of works of art have been reproduce by companies that offer online art reproduction service, so that millions of people around the world can hang famous art in their own homes.

Why Did Oil Painting Become Popular?

Both the brightness and richness of the colors are the reasons as the why oil painting has become so popular. Although, the practice has been able to transcend time due to its ability to be adapted to suit an artist’s specific needs.

For example, during the Renaissance period, oil painting artists painted in layers, painting thicker layers over thinner ones, as they slowly built up their medium. This is usually referred to as indirect painting and involves gradually adding more oil to the pigment as successive layers of paint are applied. This allowed the artwork to dry properly and prevented it from cracking. 

Additionally, this practice allows artists to build up their paintings, starting with a heavily toned under layer and gradually building up to a final finished glaze.

Indirect painting remained common until the Impressionist period when oil pigments were manufactured in tubes and artists were able to begin painting “wet on wet”, by mixing the colors directly on the surface without needing to allow each layer to dry. 

Learn more about oil painting here.

photography, art, oil paintings, paintings, history of oil paintings

Today, most artists who use oil paint combine both of these methods into their works.

Another major benefit to painting with oil is that its sheen, translucence, and thickness can be adjusted to suit the artist’s desire. Oil paint can also be mixed with a variety of resins, waxes, and varnishes, allowing the process to be as variable as the artwork that has been made from it throughout the centuries.

Below, you’ll find several examples of famous oil painting throughout history.

The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali (1931)

This landmark masterpiece is known as one of Dali’s most enigmatic pieces of his career. The work reflects his interest in the achievements of modern science and combines aspects of physic’s most prominent theories, such as Einstein’s theory of relativity, as well as Freud’s research about human unconsciousness and the importance of our dreams. 

Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci (1503 – 1506)

Possibly one of the most famous oil paintings of all time, this masterpiece was created by Leonardo da Vinci and took roughly three years to complete. It is known as the “crown jewel” of The Louvre museum in Paris, France and is regarded as one of the most valuable works of art of all time. 

Experts have many theories about who the oil painting is meant to represent, however, most speculate that the woman is a representation of Italian politician and merchant, Francesco de Giocondo’s wife.

Because it is known as one of the world’s most famous oil paintings, it is also the painting that has been reproduced and reinterpreted the most throughout history.

Learn more interesting facts about the Mona Lisa here: http://www.softschools.com/facts/history/mona_lisa_facts/2140/

The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli (1483)

Known as Botticelli’s most famous painting, The Birth of Venus was a rather revolutionary work of art for its time. This is largely due to the fact that it was the first large work of art to represent a secular, mythological theme, as opposed to being a religious work of art.

The masterpiece portrays the arrival of the goddess Venus, otherwise known as Aphrodite, being born from the sea and coming onto dry land. Although the goddess is depicted naked, the painting is not meant to suggest anything erotic. Instead, her nudity was meant to imply a sort of delicate purity.