Monday, June 17, 2024 | 13:34 WIB

Scientists unveil secret ingredients used in Leonardo da Vinci’s famous paintings


Jakarta, IO – In producing his various paintings, the world famous painter Leonardo da Vinci actually used a secret ingredient in the form of a mixture of egg yolk mixed in oil paint to form an antioxidant layer that slows down the curing process and maintain the quality of the paint.

Based on an article published by, Wednesday (5/4), adding egg yolk to oil paint can make the painting have more vivid colors, smoothen color transitions and the paint would not dry quickly so it can be used for days.

Scientists are trying to recreate possible mixtures of ingredients used in the paints. Other than egg yolk, there are distilled water, linseed oil and pigments. The chemical reaction between the ingredients and the protein in the egg yolk directly affects the viscosity of the paint.

This is because the egg protein suppresses water that is absorbed in the paint in moist air. When the painting began to dry, the egg protein was able to solve the problem often faced by 16th century painters, namely yellow and wrinkled paintings. That is why the Monalisa painting still maintains its charm up to this day.

“Adding egg yolk is useful to adjust the properties of the paint. It takes longer for the paint to oxidize, because of the antioxidants contained in the egg yolk,” said the study.

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Meanwhile, the effect of not adding egg yolk in paint can also be seen in Da Vinci’s painting called “Madonna of the Carnation” on display at Alte Pinakothek, Munich. As expected, it shows some wrinkles.

“Oil paint dries on the surface of the painting, which explain the wrinkles,” he says. (bp)


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