1. What is it?
Tempera is a type of painting medium that consists of a coloured pigment mixed in with a binder, usually an emulsion of water and egg yolk. This type of painting medium is very fast to dry and is very long-lasting. Tempera painting simply refers to paintings done using this sort of medium. The artist will first grind the pigment into a powdered form and will then place a small amount of this on to a palette. Next the artist will add a few drops of distilled water to the pigment. Then the egg yolk binder is added in small amounts until the solution is as transparent as the artist wants it to be. The amount of binder that’s required depends on the pigment being used. While painting, the consistency of the paint needs to be preserved and this can be done simply by adding more water to the paint.
2. When was it used?
Tempera paintings appear to have originated in classical times. There are references to this sort of painting throughout Latin, Gr