Art Word: Impasto

In fine art, the Italian word Impasto (dough or paste) denotes a painting technique in which undiluted paint is applied so thickly (like toothpaste) onto the canvas or panel (often with a palette knife) that it stands out from the surface. When using this impasto technique, the artist often mixes paint on the canvas itself to achieve the required colour.

Oil painting is most suited to the impasto method, due to the viscosity of oils, their thickness and slow drying time, although acrylic paint or even gouache can be applied in the impasto style. Tempera is too thin to be impastoed without adding bulking or thickening agents.

One of the painters, who actively applies a German-born British painter Lucian Freud. He was a grandson of Sigmund Freud. Have a look at some of his canvases.

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