History of Encaustic Paintings 

Encaustic is a Greek word which means "to burn in" and is one of the world's most ancient and archival painting mediums composed of beeswax, resin and dry pigments.

Greek artists were creating portraits and scenes of mythology using encaustics as early as the 5th Century B.C.!


Fayum Funeral  Portrait

Mummy Portrait of a Woman

Antinoopolis(ancient Egypt)

Encaustic on wood

98-117 A.D.

Jasper Johns


Encaustic, oil and collage on fabric mounted on plywood


Tony Scherman

Marilyn Monroe

The Blue Highway

Encaustic on canvas


More proof of early encaustic paintings come from the Fayum portraits of the Greco-Roman Egypt (circa 100 B.C. to 200 A.D.) which have survived through the centuries.

Although the art form never went away, its true revival can be seen during the renaissance era in some of Rembrandt's portraits.  Rembrandt himself said that painting with encaustics was like painting "with liquid flesh" due to its fluidity.

The better known, contemporary pioneers of encaustic painting include Diego Rivera with his murals for Mexico City, and artists, Jasper Johns and Tony Scherman.


Since wax is so unique and versatile as a medium and can be incorporated into mixed media works, its popularity amongst today's new generation of cross-discipline artists is exploding onto the art scene.