The Evolution of Oils

By: Carly Hill - Staff Writer • May 02, 2013 • 0 Comments

Think of the greats. Rembrandt, Monet, Van Gough, Leonardo da Vinci. Those famous paintings that you can probably picture in your head without even looking them up are oil paintings. No other medium can compete with the depth and intricacy of oil paint.

If you missed our last blog, click here to catch up and learn about the interesting origins of oil paintings.  Take a look at this quick guide, walking through the changes that each century has brought to its oils.

16th century

Linen canvases featured layer upon layer of glaze.  Pigments remained the same throughout the century; tones were earthy, made from plant dyes. 

17th century

A dramatic flair took over the oil paintings of this century.

Painters created landscapes and mythological narratives with nothing but oil and pigment.  Some of the most famous painters of all time like Rembrandt specialized in realism, painting with the precision and honesty of a photograph.

18th century

Realism continued to be popular and landscapes were common, as well.

19th century

Modern art really revolutionized oils.  Realism took a backseat for more abstract art in the style of impressionism, expressionism, and more.  More intense versions of blue and yellow colors were added.


The 1940s introduced acrylics to the scene, which competes with oils.  However, oils glossiness and workability makes it continue to stand out, even today.

For more information on each of these time periods, visit this site on Oil Painting

The oils featured above, circa 1880 feature a somber pair in pothole frames, available at Mill House Antiques and Gardens.  Take a peek at the other oils we have available to you, right here at Latique.


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