Art Term

Tempera

The technique of painting with pigments bound in a water-soluble emulsion, such as water and egg yolk, or an oil-in-water emulsion such as oil and a whole egg

Meredith Frampton, ‘Nude with Flying Swans’ 1919
Meredith Frampton
Nude with Flying Swans 1919
Tate
© Tate
William Blake, ‘The Ghost of a Flea’ c.1819–20
William Blake
The Ghost of a Flea c.1819–20
Tate
John Armstrong, ‘Dreaming Head’ 1938
John Armstrong
Dreaming Head 1938
Tate
© Tate

Some tempera paints are made with an artificial emulsion using gum or glue. Traditionally applied to a rigid support such as a wood panel, the paint dries to a hard film.