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Egg TemperaEgg TemperaThe History of Egg Tempera Preparation of Egg Tempera PaintRelated Links and ResourcesReferences<p>While egg tempera can be traced back to ancient Greece, it reached its zenith during the early Italian Renaissance and was the medium of choice for artists such as Giotto, Duccio, and Fra Angelico.  In Southern Europe, egg tempera was gradually replaced by the "newer" oil paint medium that was popular with artists in the north including Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling, and Rogier van der Weyden.  Despite the popularity of oil in the fifteenth century, egg tempera continued to be used by later Italian Renaissance masters such as Botticelli and Michelangelo.</p><p>Possibly the earliest documented use of the medium can be traced to the ancient Greek painter Apelles during the fourth century B.C., although none of his paintings has survived.  The earliest existing examples are funerary portraits from Roman Egypt. Egg tempera was the preferred medium for Byzantine icons dating to the sixth century C.E. Egg tempera remained the standard medium for panel painting until it was largely supplanted by oil paint during the High Renaissance.  The egg tempera medium was generally ignored until 19th-century translations of early treaties on the subject became available. The English translation of Cennino Cennini's manuscript, <em>Il Libro dell' Arte </em>helped to create a tempera revival. Five British artists founded the Society of Tempera Painters in 1901, launching the tempera revivalist movement.  In the 20th century, American artists such as Thomas Hart Benton, George Tooker, Paul Cadmus, and Andrew Wyeth pushed the boundaries of the traditional medium.  </p><p>Egg tempera requires only three ingredients; egg yolk, water, and pigment.  The pigments can be directly mixed into the egg/water mixture but are usually pre-ground into water to create a thick water/pigment paste.  Grinding was traditionally carried out using a hard muller and slab made from porphyry or granite. The resulting pastes were often kept in mussel shells as seen in many early contemporary illustrations.  The yolk was generally first separated from the white (albumen) and then punctured, drained, and mixed with an appropriate amount of water. This varied depending on the desired paint. The egg-water mixture formed the binder and was combined with the desired pigment paste(s) to create egg tempera paint.</p><p>Egg yolk contains both lipids and proteins.  As egg tempera paint cures, these components cross-link to form a polymeric network which adheres the colored pigments to the prepared surface. Water is simply a diluent which helps to wet the pigments, dilute the egg yolk to the proper strength/consistency, and facilitate application.  More or less water may be added to different paints to alter their handling qualities and transparencies.</p><p>Egg tempera paint dries to the touch very quickly but can take six to twelve months before it is fully cured. This fast-drying property directly affected the paint handling, planning, and preparation.  Traditional tempera techniques demand precise, thin applications of paint delivered in short, parallel brushstrokes. This technique is difficult to correct or revise. The egg medium also spoils quickly; the artist must estimate ahead of time the daily quantity of colors needed.</p><p><a href="">Tempera Workshop Outline</a></p><p><a href="">Techniques of Egg Tempera</a></p><p><a href="">"Making Green: Tempera versus Oil (Click on the Second Video)"</a><a href="">Egg Tempera Painters Forum</a></p><p>Bakkenist, Tonnie, Rene Hoppenbrouwers, and Helene Dubois, H., eds. <em>Early Italian Paintings: Techniques and Analysis– Symposium Maastricht, 9–10 October 1996</em>. Maastricht: Limburg Conservation Institute, 1997.</p><p>Bomford, David, Jill Dunkerton, Dillian Gordon, Ashok Roy, and Jo Kirby. <em>Italian Painting Before 1400: Art in the Making. </em>London: National Gallery Publications, 1989.</p><p>Cennini, Cennino. <em>The Craftsman's Handbook "Il Libro dell' Arte.</em> Translated by Daniel V. Thompson. 1933. Reprint. New York: Dover Publications, 1960.</p><p>Dunkerton, Jill, Susan Foister, Dillian Gordon, and Nicholas Penny. "Egg Tempera Painting." In <em>Giotto to Dürer: Early Renaissance Painting in the National Gallery, </em>188-192. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991. <br></p><p>Stoner, Joyce Hill, and Rebecca Rushfield, eds. <em>The Conservation of Easel Paintings, </em>208. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2012.</p><p>Thompson, Daniel V. <em>The Practice of Tempera Painting</em>. New York: Dover Publications, 1936. <br></p>A summary of egg tempera painting in western easel painting. Topics include the history of egg tempera painting and various preparation methods.

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