Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


What is Classical Oil Painting?

oil paint

Classical oil painting is a mix of things two aspects; classicism and oil painting. Where classical style of painting is referenced from the art of classical antiquity, oil painting is a technique where the colors are created with thinner, binder, and pigment.

Classical oil paintings are defined by the artist’s ability to paint on the canvas with oil colors following the classicism art movement. The art of classical antiquity has a more significant role in classical oil painting than the oil paints per se. However, the concept of oil paints has progressed from classical times to what we see today. We have seen differences in the way these paints are made, used, and preserved.

To give you an example, today the painters use brushes, palette knives, or even a cloth to create the artwork. But in the old days, the painters would create the draft with chalk or charcoal and paint multiple layers over each other to get the desired results. These subtle differences in the painting style and apparatus have brought many differences in the painting’s quality. Let’s explore this wonderful combination that has blessed the world with artworks like Mona Lisa and Girl with a Pearl Earring. 

Significant Characteristics of Classical Style

There isn’t one genre in classical painting. With time, the genre changes, and painters adapt to something new and different. However, three attributes that have been native to the classical style include harmony, balance, and a sense of proportion. 

Because the classical paintings resulted from multiple layers of colors, the painter had to have a great sense of the color proportion and how to create harmony between while balancing the scales. Furthermore, classical paintings are a result of systematic planning and meticulous execution. 

The real magic is that a learned viewer who understands the colors and how composition works can view the simultaneous layers of all the separate parts in the painting. It is like creating special visual effects for the spectators with nothing but their skill and craftsmanship.

Usually, the painters would first create the first layer with a dark but transparent color that provides a shiny look. Giving a dark opaque layer might make the painting look a bit dull, but in some cases, it can also highlight the main character. Another characteristic feature of oil paintings is the glazing effect created by adding a pigment. To the oil paint and then lightly brushed over the colored canvas. Glazing allows the painter to highlight the characters and play with the light. 

In the classical oil paintings, the light also has a major contribution toward the final result. Since it plays differently with the characters and underlying objects, the painters used light as per their subject matter and style. 

Oil Paintings and their Unique Aspects

Oil-based colors have been used to bring the artist’s imagination to life from the 7th century, as observed in 2008. At that time, the oils used in the paints are said to be extracted from walnuts and poppies. With time, the linseed oil became more prominent, and it was then added with some volatile solvents to adjust to the changing painter’s needs. 

Century by century, the basics of oil paints are modified. Sometimes to give a better glazing effect to the painting, while in other instances. It was done to bring about a change in the way colors composed with each other while responding to the light. 

In the 17th Century, artists from different art movements utilized the efficiency of oil paints to embellish their canvases. The real beauty is that oil paints did not get stuck with one art movement. Almost every art movement used oil paints, while a few of them also used watercolors. 

In the same century, we can see a deep-set association between the classical form of art and oil paints. From allegorical paintings to frescoes or canvasses, the artists explored the true potential of using oil paints to show their skills. From expansive brushstrokes to bold and energetic compositions. And bringing the colors to life, both the 17th and 18th centuries were the apex of this combination.

Moreover, in the 18th Century, we also saw neoclassical paintings and artists using oil paints to create majestic landscapes. 

The Association of Classical Art and Oil Paintings

The classical approaches of leveraging the innate qualities of oil paints. And their ability to personify their approach had many advantages. First of all, with oil paints, classical artists didn’t have to paint a middle tone for better composition. They first painted a dark hue, which was the base, then continued with lighter tones to complete the canvas. 

Due to the relatively higher viscosity of the paint, the painters used thinner paint layers. This meant lower paint cost plus longer durability. The best part about phasing the painting is that the artists were able to get better control of their tone. Plus, the magic of glazing proved to be like a cherry on the cake. It brought out the characters and showed the dance with light superbly. 


Classical paintings set a new trend in the artist’s world with their unique subject matter and character highlighting. Almost every classical painting that you see is unique in itself because the artists who made it had a unique perspective. 

Moreover, getting the recreated versions of classical style paintings from https://www.1st-art-gallery for your home or office will certainly add class and give it a new look. Rest assured that all the styles and spin-offs of classicism have the same caliber and antiquity style with minor variations according to the time. 

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like


Bangladesh is not lagging behind in the competition to advance with modern science and technology. By connecting the information technology highway with the famous...


According to Jeremy Fleming, there is a danger that the West can no longer form key technologies on which we depend. “If we’re going...


How much money is at risk? How long will it take? Let’s take a look at the most popular recommendations from experienced entrepreneurs that...

Artificial Intelligence

Nowadays technology is replacing everything. In this advanced age of digital world, where we face much progress as well as we see many cons,...