Physical copy available

We have a physical copy of this material in our library at the Jan van Eyck Academie.


Making Tempera

Tempera, also known as egg tempera, is a permanent, fast-drying painting medium consisting of coloured pigments mixed with a water-soluble binder medium, usually glutinous material such as egg yolk. Tempera also refers to the paintings done in this medium.  Here featured with the painting 'Testdoek (1)' by Vera Gulikers, for which she used egg-tempera on canvas.

Artist Vera Gulikers:

‘’There are various recipes. This one was made from egg yolk, water and vinegar, into which I broke the pigments. Each time I make a new batch of egg tempera I test it quickly on an empty piece of linen. I see how it works when I apply it slowly or quickly, mixed together, next to each other or on top of one another. The first time I made my own paint I did the same but on a sheet of paper. Later I hung it on a wall; I saw the most unguarded and carefree composition I could have made. The paint only lasts for three days; therefore, I have to make new batches of paint very often. This means that the colours are never the same, there is always a slight difference in the mixture of pigments or the proportions of the egg mixture. In the making process there is a lot of space for chance, which sometimes leads to the strangest combinations or discolourations. Egg tempera is the oldest paint that exists – originally it was used to paint icons – but its shiny, make-up like appearance, is also very contemporary.’’

Text written by Bernke Klein Zandvoort on the occasion of the exhibition Loops-Points-Blooming at the Van Eyck (2018)


Egg, vinegar, water.


Vera Gulikers


Vera Gulikers (Article)

Photo credits

Barend Jan de Jong