Oil paint

Jump to navigation Jump to search
Water Lilies, 1907
MFA 19.170


Boys in a Pasture
MFA# 53.2552

A slow-drying paint made by grinding pigments with a Drying oil, such as Linseed oil, primarily used to create a work of art.. Because it is slow- drying, the paint may easily be modified or blended after application. Oil paints are thinned with turpentine or White spirit, and varnish may be added to increase the glossiness of the dried oil paint film.

Oil paints were first used in Asia as early as the 7th century AD and can be seen in examples of Buddhist paintings in Afghanistan. Oil-based paints made their way to Europe by the 12th century and were used for simple decoration, but oil painting did not begin to be adopted as an artistic medium there until the early 15th century. Common modern applications of oil paint are in finishing and protection of wood in buildings and exposed metal structures such as ships and bridges (Wikipedia, 2002).

After 1940, many oil paints contained alkyd binders to provide faster drying times.

Synonyms and Related Terms

oil color; oil paints; oil stain; peinture à l'huile (Fr.); pintura al óleo (Esp.); tinta de óleo (Port.)

Paul Revere
MFA# 30.781


Websites of artist colours manufacturers

Resources and Citations

  • ASTM, "Standard Terminology Relating to Paint, Varnish, Lacquer and Related Products", Annual Book of ASTM Standards, Section 6, Paints, Related Coatings and Aromatics, ASTM, D16, 7-Jan, Jul-96
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996