egg tempera art workshop in Rome with Michael Bergt


JULY 1 – JULY 12, 2024

Art from 8th Century BC to today will greet you in Rome! Home to some of the most remarkable architectural wonders in the world, decorated with marvels of the history of sculpture and painting, and home to some of the most famous examples of frescos ever.

Therefore, in addition to a “techniques” class, just living and working in Rome with fellow art students encourages one to make leaps in their work. Working in egg tempera may be a continuing practice for some, or a totally new experience for others. Regardless, I enjoy helping fellow artists discover what they’re essentially trying to say and do with their work, in the context of a long history of art.  

We will visit and discuss amazing collections in Palazzo Barberini, Villa Borghese and the Capitoline Museums, not to mention the Vatican Collection. In that rich history, you will find many early Renaissance paintings with stamped gold leaf backgrounds. Ever wonder, “How did they do that?” The painting was done in egg tempera, (pre-dating oil painting) and the gold was applied with “water gilding.”

In this workshop, Michael will share traditional techniques of preparing and working on toned paper, how to work up preliminary tonal drawings and transferring those drawings to a true, rabbit skin/chalk panel, how to make egg tempera from scratch, and build up the jewel-like surface, and, for those interested, applying gold leaf using water gilding. 

Since 1980, Michael’s primary panel-painting medium has been egg tempera. He co-founded the Society of Tempera painters, and over the years I’ve developed my own approach to egg tempera—blending color directly on the panel instead of from pre-mixed tonalities. Egg tempera is a quick drying medium, with a high color key. It is the closest thing to “drawing with paint.” As such, I encourage exploiting this “rendering” quality in developing the painting.

Along with painting we will be taking trips to museums and churches to study paintings, drawings and sculptures of the masters.