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An opaque, aqueous paint that dries to a matte finish. Distemper paints may have gum, glue, or casein binders. They are often used for interior decorative projects such as stage sets, wall decoration, murals and wall paint. Occasionally, distemper paintings are varnished with a clear coat of glue size for protection.

Synonyms and Related Terms

glue tempera; glue paint; calcimine; gouache; détrempe; tüchlein; size painting; size color


  • R. J. Gettens, G.L. Stout, Painting Materials, A Short Encyclopaedia, Dover Publications, New York, 1966
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • A Glossary of Paper Conservation Terms, Margaret Ellis (ed.), Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York City, 1998
  • Paint in America, Robert Moss (ed.), John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1994 Comment: M.Phillips, "A Victorian Trompe l'Oeil"

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