While the dating of oil paint’s origins are still under scrutiny, the technique of oil painting became widely popular during the fifteenth century. The medium, which revolutionized painting, supplanted the previously popular medium of tempera paint and afforded artists with greater versatility in their compositions in terms of the coloristic effects they could convey.
Prior to the 1400s, the medium of egg tempera paint was the standard for professional painters. So called thanks to its typical use of egg yolk as the means of binding the paint pigment together, egg tempera painting was applauded for its ability to convey saturated and uniform fields of color within a composition. Tempera paint was also appreciated for its quick drying times and durability. 
The use of tempera paint traces back to the ancient world. From ancient Egypt to the Indus River valley, historic global cultures made use of tempera paint and experimented with variations, a tradition that continued through the Middle Ages and even extended into the fifteenth century and the Renaissance era. Accordingly, some of the finest examples of painting from art history reflect the use of this medium. Sienese painter Duccio di Buoninsenga, for instance, one of the key innovators of the Early Renaissance period, employed the tempera medium to great effect in works such as his early fourteenth-century Maestà altarpiece for the Duomo of Siena.