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Painting executed with ground pigment mixed with a water-soluble material, such as egg yolk, gum, or wax. The special ground for tempera painting is a rigid wood panel coated with thin layers of gesso, a preparation usually made of plaster of Paris and glue. Tempera paint is resistant to water and allows overpainting with more colour; the thin, transparent layers of paint produce a clear, luminous effect. The exclusive medium for panel painting in the Middle Ages and early Renaissance, it was largely superseded in the 15th century by oil paint.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on tempera painting, visit Britannica.com.
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