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The Oldest Oil Painting - varnamvarnam
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The Oldest Oil Painting

Photobucket
(Source: National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo)

Till recently it was believed that oil painting had its origins somewhere in Europe between 11th and 13th centuries when some unknown artist discovered that mixing linseed, walnut or safflower oil with pigments could produce a different feel than watercolour. Archaeologists looking into caves behind the destroyed Buddhas in Bamiyan found evidence that oil painting has a non-Eurocentric history. The artists who lived in the 7th century, used besides oil, natural resins, proteins and gums to paint murals showing Buddha sitting cross-legged in vermilion robes.

The paintings in 12 of the 50 caves were created using oil paints, possibly from walnut or poppy, according to scientists at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in France. “This is the earliest clear example of oil paintings in the world, although drying oils were already used by ancient Romans and Egyptians, but only as medicines and cosmetics,” says team leader Yoko Taniguchi.[Afghan oil paintings world’s oldest]

Now that the oldest oil painting has been found, it is time to look for the remains of the first oil painting critic.


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