Fine Arts, Art History and Italian language courses in Florence

Tempera and Renaissance painting techniques

Tempera and Renaissance painting techniques

Discover how the Italian masters painted

The word “tempera” comes the Latin “distemperare”, which means mix thoroughly. Also known as egg tempera, this technique actually mixes colored pigments with a binder medium, which consists usually of egg yolk.

It is a very ancient technique that became very popular and widespread in the middle age and in the early renaissance period. The main reason of this popularity and diffusion was due to the fact that tempera paintings were incredibly very long lasting. Painters such as Masaccio or Piero della Francesca knew that the tempera medium was permanent and that therefore the vivid colors of their artwork would last for centuries. Another peculiarity of this medium is that it dries rapidly.

During this 5-day intensive workshop students will learn to master this ancient technique. They will learn to mix the colors with the egg and to adjust the mixture by adding water or more yolk while painting so as to maintain the creamy consistency of the paint. They will be taught on how to achieve detail precision by applying thin, semi-opaque or transparent layers also by adopting a cross-hatching technique through the application of several small brush strokes.

Students will be able to opt for subjects the prefer to work on, so that they may concentrate either on a still life or on a portrait or even on a landscape.

Students will also decide the support on which they wish to paint. Given the extremely creamy consistency of this medium, they may choose to paint either on a heavy paper sheet, or on a wood panel, or also on a canvas.

After this 5-day intensive seminar students will be capable of mastering the fundamentals of this ancient technique.

Part of the workshop can be dedicated to:

  • the study of the “tempera grassa“, that is the tempera painting medium in which oil is added to the egg yolk-pigment mixture;
  • the gold leaf gilding technique, which was often combined with tempera during the middle age.

This workshop is open both to advanced and to professional artists who wish to discover this painting technique.

Duration of the workshop: 5 days, Monday-Friday, 30 hours of tuition in total.

Classes are held either in Italian or in English.

This workshop is available every Monday all year round

Price and details


1 week, 30 hours, 655 Euro
2 weeks, 60 hours, 1180 Euro (instead of 1310 Euro, save 130 Euro)
Enrolment fee: 45 Euro

Course price includes

  • the use of all the necessary materials and tools;
  • a certificate at the end of the course.

Starting dates and schedule

Classes start every Monday all year round.

Schedule: 10am-1pm from Monday to Friday and 1.30pm-5pm from Monday to Thursday.

Tempera painting
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