This video calls itself:
A Montage of paintings by Flemish artist Jan Van Eyck (1385-1441) set to music from a live performance of Handel’s Messiah.
From AFP news agency:
‘World’s first oil paintings in Afghan caves’
25 January 2008
Buddhist images painted in the central Afghan region, dated to around 650 AD, are the earliest examples of oil used in art history, says Yoko Taniguchi, an expert at Japan’s National Research Institute for Cultural Properties.
A group of Japanese, European and US scientists are collaborating to restore damaged murals in caves in the Bamiyan Valley, famous for its two gigantic statues of the Buddha, which were destroyed by the Taleban in 2001.
In the murals, thousands of Buddhas in vermilion robes sit cross-legged, sporting exquisitely knotted hair.
Other motifs show crouching monkeys, men facing one another or palm leaves delicately intertwined with mythical creatures.
The paintings incorporate a mix of Indian and Chinese influences, and are most likely to be the works of artists traveling on the Silk Road, which was the largest trade and cultural route connecting the East and the West.
The Los Angeles-based Getty Conservation Institute analysed 53 samples extracted from the murals. Using gas chromatography methods, the researchers found that 19 had oil in the paint.
“Different types of oil were used on the dirt walls with such a sophisticated technique that I felt I was looking right at a medieval board painting dating from 14th or 15th century Italy,” Taniguchi told AFP.
The discovery would reverse common perceptions about the origins of oil paintings.
The technique is widely believed to have emerged in Europe leading into the Renaissance, which flowered from 1400 to 1600.
Italian artist and architect Giorgio Vasari first wrote of oil painting in his book, “The Lives of the Artists,” in the mid-16th century.
Art historians, however, argue that 15th-century Flemish painter Jan van Eyck may have known of the technique because he had developed a stable varnish, although he kept it secret until his death.
“It was very impressive to discover that such advanced methods were used in murals in central Asia,” Taniguchi said.
“My European colleagues were shocked because they always believed oil paintings were invented in Europe. They couldn’t believe such techniques could exist in some Buddhist cave deep in the countryside,” she added.
See also here.
Spanish art: here.
Afghanistan – Crossroads Of The Ancient World, exhibition review here.