Definition of encaustic in English:



  • (in painting and ceramics) decorated by burning in colours as an inlay, especially using coloured clays or pigments mixed with hot wax.

    • ‘Scherman started painting with wax in 1974, when, as a student at the Royal College of Art in London, he first saw Jasper Johns's encaustic paintings.’
    • ‘In a recent project in a Victorian residence, for instance, Farrell used a silver-effect encaustic plaster surface in the hallway, stairs and landing.’
    • ‘We studied the artist's technique, and the students recognized similarities between van Gogh's painting style/brushwork and the look of encaustic painting.’
    • ‘Zima took seven years to develop his laborious encaustic process.’
    • ‘Throughout his career Rivera also painted a wide range of easel pictures, in some of which he experimented with the encaustic technique.’
    • ‘Above this ensemble, on the wall against which it is set, hangs a grid of 25 square encaustic paintings, monochrome abstractions that evoke the night sky.’
    • ‘The bread plate was made by the medieval encaustic process whereby clays of different colors were inlaid.’
    • ‘In both, tightly cropped portraits of historical and cultural figures stare out bracingly from vigorously painted encaustic surfaces.’
    • ‘In the tents one could see artists painting with watercolours, acrylics pastels, or demonstrating encaustic painting.’
    • ‘The 19 th-century American artist Rembrandt Peale touted encaustic for portraiture, claiming that it was akin to painting ‘with liquid flesh.’’
    • ‘These methods include an encaustic technique and a secret for fixing pastel invented by the pastelist Loriot.’
    • ‘The landscapes that really stand out are those painted with the encaustic method.’
    • ‘Paint was applied by brush, although the encaustic technique (mixing paint with heated wax) was used at least from the time of Polygnotus.’
    • ‘Mummy portraits of Rome and Egypt serve as the earliest examples of encaustic painting.’
    • ‘Perceptually tricky yet highly engaging, Channel 11 is an encaustic painting on wood with a gridded picture plane of equally sized beige, brown and blue squares.’


mass noun
  • The art or process of encaustic painting.

    • ‘Comprehensive workshops in encaustic and oil stick technique.’
    • ‘He has reworked these motifs hundreds of times in drawings and prints, encaustic and oil, using various colours and then stripping the images of all colour, repeating patterns and sometimes turning them upside-down.’
    • ‘To create a simulacrum of his subject, Birnie uses encaustic, an old-school painting medium of pigment and wax.’
    • ‘They are covered in thick oil and encaustic in a range of gray-blues and maroon.’
    • ‘She has also worked in platinum, gum dichromate, and encaustics.’
    • ‘As you can see in her solo show at the University City Arts League, latter-day process art paintings - here, oil and encaustic on panel - can satisfy by letting the beauty of the materials sing.’
    • ‘The rebirth of encaustic, among other forgotten methods, offers an important example.’
    • ‘Already in his own lifetime, critics often compared his paintings to works in other media: stained glass, encaustic, and, most frequently, enamel or jewelry.’
    • ‘Classes and workshops available in drawing, painting, watercolor, sculpture, printmaking, mixed media, fresco, encaustic, career development and young peoples' classes, for beginners and advanced students.’
    • ‘Although some mummy portraits were done with tempera, encaustic was particularly suited for the realistic representation of human skin because of the medium's thicker texture and luminosity.’
    • ‘The artists used both tempera and encaustic, a wax-based medium.’
    • ‘In this show, which featured a range of traditional mediums (oil, watercolor, acrylic or encaustic on canvas, linen or paper), the surfaces are gridded into small squares, and a linear configuration fills each box.’
    • ‘In general, Mattera uses the cloudy effects attainable with encaustic to disguise the logic of her enterprise.’
    • ‘It consists of abutting panels of blue and red acrylic applied in an almost burnished density that recalls encaustic.’
    • ‘The Entrance Hall at Cliveden was, until 1904, embellished by a pair of Minton encaustic tiled floors.’
    • ‘Painted on wooden rectangles, either in encaustic (pigment suspended in wax) or tempera (pigment suspended in egg yolk), the form and the medium of the icon have remained constant to the present.’
    • ‘To some, the vestiges of these paintings - often called frescoes, but actually oil and encaustic applied directly to dry plaster - resembled the remnants of a Roman decorative cycle.’
    • ‘As a glutinous medium encaustic is best applied with the palette knife and this gave Johns the opportunity to produce the heavy impastos which he so enjoys.’
    • ‘For a new suite of paintings executed in encaustic and resin, the artist found inspiration in the often unheralded work of women architects’
    • ‘The large square Encompass exemplifies the artist's elaborate and expert use of encaustic.’
    • ‘I also like oil pastels and encaustic, but I am less familiar with these.’


Late 16th century: via Latin from Greek enkaustikos, from enkaiein ‘burn in’, from en- ‘in’ + kaiein ‘to burn’.