Updated: Dec 26, 2021
A combination of tempera powdered pigment, linseed oil and water creates a paint that can be colour mixed like oils, but unlike oils it dries very quickly. And tempera colours do not darken or change with age.
In fact, tempera was the original mural medium in the ancient dynasties of Egypt, Babylonia, Mycenaean Greece, and China. It was used to decorate mummy cases, papyrus rolls of ancient Egypt and the vellum leaves of medieval illuminated manuscripts. So cool!
Examples from the first century AD still exist and it was a primary method of painting until after 1500. Did you know Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael all painted with tempera? And more recently, masters of tempera included Andrew Wyeth and Paul Cadmus.