Egg Tempera

Hello everyone, this past week in my favorite class, Art History, we had an amazing opportunity to learn about egg tempera. Now you may be wondering, What exactly is egg tempera? Well, it is a mixture of ground up pigments and egg yolk that create a permanent water soluble paint. The pigments were created by grinding up minerals and rocks in order to attain the artists desired color for the work of art. The grinding process was done with a mortar and pestle.

Once the pigment is prepared, the egg yolk would then be combined creating a rather thick paint that dries quickly so the artist must work fast. The paint would be applied in very thin fine lines or cross hatching. If done in thick globs, the paint can create a rough surface on the painting. The paint does not mix very well with other pigments because of just how fast the paint dries. Overall this process is very labor intensive, but the artist can achieve vibrant yet matte colors in the painting.

Egg Tempera has been used as a medium for a variety of works such as the Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli and The Annunciation by Leonardo Da Vinci. This pain staking technique is worth while because egg tempera is such a permanent medium that it is bound it last for centuries.

Have you ever delved into the medium that is egg tempera? If so, what did you as an artist feel as though the egg tempera was doing for your composition? During my experience with this paint, I found it to be more pigmented than I imagined, which was a huge surprise! Being that I had never worked with the medium before I did not have any expectations to how it would apply only canvas. Although it was surprisingly very easy to use and it applied well, it did not leave a rough surface. Feel free to let me know your opinions on egg tempera, do you love it , do you hate it? Let’s talk about it.

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