What is tempera? History of unusual paint

Tempera paints are considered the most ancient. Where and when did this ancient type of painting originate, in which it became widespread and how it is used in modern times. The article will discuss what tempera is, what it is made of and what types exist.

Tempera: definition, history

In art there are many types of paints. What is tempera? Translated from the Latin word temperare means "combine, mix." Tempera is both a type of painting and a paint obtained by mixing a dry coloring pigment with a bonding emulsion.

Tempera paints are the oldest dye in history. More than three thousand years ago, the ancient Egyptian artists painted the walls of tombs and sarcophagi with it. Tempera paints were widely used in iconography. Famous ancient Russian icon painters of the XIV-XV centuries such Feofan Grek, Andrei Rublev wrote their creations in the traditional tempera technique.The faces of the saints were depicted on grounded plates, which were then covered with a layer of varnish or drying oil. Starting from the 15th century in Europe and from the 18th century in Russia, tempera painting gradually replaces oil painting. However, at the beginning of the 20th century, this type of painting became popular again, it is widely used both in painting and in decorative and applied art.

tempera what

Composition, types

By and large, it should be noted that tempera is a special way of creating coloring material, and not the paint itself. The main components of the paint are dry powders of natural or artificial pigments and emulsion binders. The composition of the bonding emulsion may include: casein glue, chicken egg, gum arabic, dextrin glue, soap solution. Natural tempera is the paint that the artist himself manufactures, using for its dilution natural components: chicken egg yolk, water, or some other preservative (for example, vinegar, wine). Natural tempera is mainly used in icon painting: thanks to it, it produces a deep, saturated color, a glaze effect on majolica.Modern artists increasingly use tempera based on substances of synthetic origin (glue, oils, polymers). Depending on what substance is the main component of the binder emulsion, tempera paints are divided into 3 types:

  • egg;
  • wax-casein-oil;
  • Pva.

tempera paints

Egg tempera

This type of tempera was widely used by medieval painters of the Renaissance, as well as Russian icon painters of the XV-XVI centuries. Both a whole egg and its parts, such as white or yolk, were added to egg tempera. The most popular was the paint on the basis of the yolk. It was mixed with water, varnish, oil, wax and other components. Egg-water and egg-varnish tempera were widely used in their work by Palekh masters in painting miniatures and icons. The main components of the bonding agent in egg tempera are chicken yolk, painting and turpentine varnishes. Previously, Italian painters added frayed tops from fig tree branches or a mixture of wine and water to egg tempera, German painters - beer, Russian icon painters - bread kvass. Nowadays, modern icon painters, working in ancient technology, add apple or table vinegar as a preservative to the yolk tempera.

waterborne paints

PVA, wax-oil and casein tempera paints

Casein paints are water-borne pigments, the main component of which is casein (a protein of dairy origin). It also contains linseed oil and phenolic resin. This type of tempera is applied only on a special basis: primed canvases, planks, thick paper.

In addition to pigment wax and tempera, wax, vegetable oils, resins and other additives are included. Dilute it with any industrial solvents, such as white spirit, pinene, turpentine, as well as fatty vegetable oils, drying oil. When diluted with water, you can work as a watercolor.

Disadvantages: dries for a long time.

Advantages: bright, juicy palette when applied, mixes well with oil paints. Many artists know that such a tempera darkens after drying, but if gouache is used instead of white, then the color becomes lighter.

PVA tempera What? It is based on a mixture of synthetic resins, stabilizers, structuring agents. It is most popular in recent work, as it is used in almost all techniques of applying paint and ideally fits on any dry and hard surface.

tempera features

The main advantages of tempera paint

The main advantage of this paint is fast drying, strength and durability. The dried paint layer adheres to the working surface reliably; it cannot be dissolved even with water. This property of paint is irreplaceable, for example, during transportation or further processing of the finished web. It perfectly interacts with white. Features of tempera is that it can be written in various techniques: apply a thin layer or create a thick pasty letter. You can pour on any surface: wood, paper, canvas, using in the work of various types and forms of brushes. The symbiosis of glue and oil contained in the paint contributes to the fact that on the working canvas it turns elastic, glitters and does not crack. The color of tempera paints, unlike oil paints, changes upon drying, becomes more dull. To obtain a glossy surface, various varnishes are used, for example, dammar, mastic or linseed oil. Another difference from oil tempera paints is their durability and resistance to external influences.

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