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Artists' Materials
Adoration of the Shepherds
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Venetian painters' materials were transformed in the early sixteenth century, when canvas replaced wood panel as the preferred support and the oil medium, introduced in Venice in the 1470s, largely displaced tempera. Using egg yolk to bind pigments, tempera dries to a semi-matte state, whereas oil paint retains its translucency and produces colors of greater richness and depth. Venetian painters also used pigments previously employed in manuscript illumination—orpiment and realgar—to produce the glowing orange and yellow tones seen, for example, in Joseph's robe in Giorgione's Adoration of the Shepherds. To add even more brilliance and luminosity to their paintings, artists sometimes mixed their pigments with pulverized glass.

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