Oil painting

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Painting on surfaces with pigments ground into a medium of oil - especially in early modern Europe, linseed oil - was probably developed for decorative or functional purposes in the high middle ages. Surfaces like shields - both those used in tournaments and those hung as decorations - were more durable when painted in oil-based media than when painted in the traditional tempera paints. Many Renaissance sources credit northern European painters of the 15th century with the 'invention' of painting with oil media on wood panel - Jan van Eyck often mentioned as the "inventor."

The term is also used in a mild insult, generally towards a woman who has questioned the looks of another woman: "You're no oil painting yourself", implying that the target is not particularly attractive