Oil Paintings

Oil painting is considered as the most prominent art medium in the history of the western world. For over five hundred years, the masters of European art have used oil paint to produce some of the most prolific pieces of art in the world. Whether you are interested in buying a painting inspired by the old Renaissance masters or from an upcoming new artist, at Rise Art we sell hundreds of exclusive artworks to buy from our online catalogue.

Techniques of Oil painting…

Documents have shown that the development of traditional oil painting had originated from Northern Europe during the early 15th century. Oil paint consists of colour pigment bound by oil (traditionally linseed oil), to create a mixture that can be painted across different surfaces of wood, paper and canvas. As oil paint requires exposure to oxygen to dry, the process of drying is slow, which allows artists to work with the paint for a longer period of time to create the effects of blending and layering of colour. These effects can create a richness of colours, shades and textures which creates greater artistic freedom for artists to experiment with different subject matter and styles.

History of Oil Painting

The Northern Renaissance is usually considered as the beginning of the use of oil paint in Europe. Flemish artist Jan van Eyck discovered the effects of painting with oil mixtures on wood panels to create ground-breaking illusionist techniques in his artwork. Van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait (1434) illustrates an Italian merchant and his wife in their home. This domestic double portraiture is credited as the first painting to capture the transition of time and space through his ability to blend and layer paint to convey a range of tonal colours.

As Northern masters such as Van Eyck used oil painting to capture the effects of light in their subjects, the development of the canvas enabled Italian renaissance artists to develop extraordinary artwork on a large scale. Artists such as Raphael and Michelangelo painted with oil to master the technique of depicting anatomy correct figures. This technique development empowered them to create large scale paintings depicting epic historical and mythological scenes. Other artists such as Leonardo Di Vinci used oil painting to develop the artistic technique of blurring details as seen in his work of The Last Supper (1498) and the Mona Lisa (1503-1507) to create greater levels of depth.

While oil painting continued to be the medium of choice for European artists throughout the past five hundred years, the development of colour pigment in the 19th century aided artistic movements such as the Impressionists to radically break from classical art conventions. During the mid-late 19th century, artists including J.M.W Turner, Claude Monet and Paul Cezanne used oil paint to convey fleeting images of modern life and landscapes. Brushwork remained thin, rapid and broken to present vivid colours that captured the process of transient and momentary light of the outdoors, as seen in Monet’s Water-Lilies series (1840-1926).

The Impressionists heavily influenced and inspired numerous Avant-Garde movements at the beginning of 20th century Europe. Art movements of fauvism, cubism, and expressionism were pioneered by modern masters such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse who continued to push the boundaries of the art. Picasso’s use of oil paint in his controversial Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) transformed the depiction of the classical nude. Influenced by Iberian and African cultures, Picasso’s painting with oil created sharp geometric shapes and block colour to explore dangerous and primitive sexuality. As a result of this experimentation the piece has been credited with changing the history of the classical nude and artistic representation of sexuality.

Contemporary Oil Painting

Since the development of oil paint over five hundred years ago, the medium remains a prominent and prized tool for artists across the world.

At Rise Art we believe that oil paint shall continue to be celebrated as an aid of artistic innovation. Artists can draw influences from its historical use or experiment with its future potential to create wonderful pieces of artwork. We cherish artist Paul Bennett and his ability to create abstract landscapes and seascapes. Clearly influenced by the impressionist use of colour to capture light and space in nature, Bennett’s method of painting by memory transforms natural landscapes as seen in Setting Sun 1https://www.riseart.com/art/90128/setting-sun-1-by-paul-bennett) (2018) to a beautifully sensual and expressive piece.

The colour fluidity of Fintan Whelan Redemption (2019) is an excellent choice for those who would want to own an innovative contemporary oil painting. Whelan’s ability to combine colour pigment with oils and varnishes enables him to create sleek brushstrokes that helps him capture the range of emotional and intellectual responses in the mind which create a harmonious expression on the canvas that we just love.


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