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Art Encyclopedia - Pastel

Art information > Art Encyclopedia > P > Pastel

Pastel
Pastel is a stick of powdered pigment mixed with a binder such as gum. It falls off and rubs off easily. It can be fixed but this causes the colours to lose their clarity. Pastel is a drawing medium and is similar to chalks and crayons. Pastels are often used on tinted or coloured paper. No medium or vehicle is used and the colours are worked dry.

Pastels originated at the end of the 15th century as a development from the use of chalk for drawing. At first colours were generally limited to black, white, and red or flesh-colour, but a full range of colours had been developed by the early 18th century. During the first half of the 19th century the medium declined in popularity, but there was a great revival of interest in the second half of the century, especially among the French Impressionists, who found it well suited to their characteristic freshness of observation and speed of work.






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