Difference Between Tempera and Oil Paintings
Tempera is a color bound by a sticky binder or by egg yolk. In the European tradition it is opposed to oil painting, with its lower, dimmed and less shiny nature. The tempera, intended as painting that has precise material characteristics, is identified in the fifteenth century, in the search for a smooth and united surface, not so different from that which, more saturated, is sought through oil paintings. So, we can observe shaded and dotted drafts but also dashed drafts. Some artists remain tied to tempera at the end of the fifteenth century.
The Madonna of Manchester of the London National Gallery, attributed to Michelangelo, is also painted in tempera. A master like Perugino, greatly admired for his oil drafts, gives a splendid essay of tempera painting in the dais in the Pinacoteca of Perugia with the Annunciation, the Nativity and the Baptism of Christ, all finely sketched with a draft that remains in view, as if to show the beauty of pictorial art.
The most widespread genre of tempera paintings was that of Flanders sheets, painted with little pressure, suitable to be rolled up to reach any destination. Perhaps the most noteworthy example of this technique, which uses punctuation and dashes, is given by the paintings by Bruegel the Elder. It is often difficult to distinguish between fat tempera and lean oil. However less resistant than oil painting, tempera is also chosen for its lower cost, for example for the ephemeral outfits of equipment: in these cases it is a lean tempera similar to that of the Flanders sheets. In the seventeenth century, the fat tempera is accompanied by oil painting to avoid the yellowing of certain parts of the painting. Van Dyck advises to paint blue and green colors in tempera.
Currently there are tempera paintings of white flowers of still or pale nudes. Lean tempera, on the other hand, finds its precise use in the great eighteenth-century landscapes, suitable, with their low-pitched character, to accompany the furnishings more than fresco or oil painting.
The tempera, which does not paint despite many recipes that recommend doing so to make it similar to oil, will often be taken up by modern artists in the search for alternative materials to traditional oil, even with variations of fat tempera.