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


mass noun
  • The art or process of encaustic painting.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Comprehensive workshops in encaustic and oil stick technique.’
    • ‘The Entrance Hall at Cliveden was, until 1904, embellished by a pair of Minton encaustic tiled floors.’
    • ‘Already in his own lifetime, critics often compared his paintings to works in other media: stained glass, encaustic, and, most frequently, enamel or jewelry.’
    • ‘I also like oil pastels and encaustic, but I am less familiar with these.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They are covered in thick oil and encaustic in a range of gray-blues and maroon.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘For a new suite of paintings executed in encaustic and resin, the artist found inspiration in the often unheralded work of women architects’
    • ‘It consists of abutting panels of blue and red acrylic applied in an almost burnished density that recalls encaustic.’
    • ‘To create a simulacrum of his subject, Birnie uses encaustic, an old-school painting medium of pigment and wax.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The rebirth of encaustic, among other forgotten methods, offers an important example.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’


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