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.

    • ‘In a recent project in a Victorian residence, for instance, Farrell used a silver-effect encaustic plaster surface in the hallway, stairs and landing.’
    • ‘The 19 th-century American artist Rembrandt Peale touted encaustic for portraiture, claiming that it was akin to painting ‘with liquid flesh.’’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In both, tightly cropped portraits of historical and cultural figures stare out bracingly from vigorously painted encaustic surfaces.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Throughout his career Rivera also painted a wide range of easel pictures, in some of which he experimented with the encaustic technique.’
    • ‘Paint was applied by brush, although the encaustic technique (mixing paint with heated wax) was used at least from the time of Polygnotus.’
    • ‘The bread plate was made by the medieval encaustic process whereby clays of different colors were inlaid.’
    • ‘We studied the artist's technique, and the students recognized similarities between van Gogh's painting style/brushwork and the look of encaustic painting.’
    • ‘The landscapes that really stand out are those painted with the encaustic method.’
    • ‘Mummy portraits of Rome and Egypt serve as the earliest examples of encaustic painting.’
    • ‘Zima took seven years to develop his laborious encaustic process.’
    • ‘These methods include an encaustic technique and a secret for fixing pastel invented by the pastelist Loriot.’
    • ‘In the tents one could see artists painting with watercolours, acrylics pastels, or demonstrating encaustic painting.’
    • ‘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.’


mass noun
  • The art or process of encaustic painting.

    • ‘The Entrance Hall at Cliveden was, until 1904, embellished by a pair of Minton encaustic tiled floors.’
    • ‘I also like oil pastels and encaustic, but I am less familiar with these.’
    • ‘They are covered in thick oil and encaustic in a range of gray-blues and maroon.’
    • ‘Comprehensive workshops in encaustic and oil stick technique.’
    • ‘For a new suite of paintings executed in encaustic and resin, the artist found inspiration in the often unheralded work of women architects’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The large square Encompass exemplifies the artist's elaborate and expert use of encaustic.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘To create a simulacrum of his subject, Birnie uses encaustic, an old-school painting medium of pigment and wax.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In general, Mattera uses the cloudy effects attainable with encaustic to disguise the logic of her enterprise.’
    • ‘The artists used both tempera and encaustic, a wax-based medium.’
    • ‘It consists of abutting panels of blue and red acrylic applied in an almost burnished density that recalls encaustic.’
    • ‘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 rebirth of encaustic, among other forgotten methods, offers an important example.’
    • ‘She has also worked in platinum, gum dichromate, and encaustics.’
    • ‘Already in his own lifetime, critics often compared his paintings to works in other media: stained glass, encaustic, and, most frequently, enamel or jewelry.’
    • ‘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 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 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.’


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