A triumph of the Renaissance: the invention of a way to portray our fellow humans with oil paint It is an ideal medium for rendering skin and for that matter hair and drapery, as well. Credit for the technique goes to Dutch master Jan Van Eyck, who developed it in the 15th century. Painters like Caravaggio, Velasquez and Zurbaran exploited its brilliantly subtle ranges of color and tone. The painting above consists of concoctions of the same materials that they used -- for the most part simple earths or metals like iron oxide or lead -- in this case mixed with walnut oil. Le Dos, 2020. Oil on panel. 46x24 in.