Watercolour is a painting method in which the paint, lightly bound with gum arabic, is mixed and diluted with glycerine, preserving agents and water. A more or less pronounced coloured veil is characteristic of watercolour paintings.
Because of its its simple technical requirements, watercolour painting is one of the oldest painting methods and was dominant until the invention of tempera and oil painting.
In Ancient Egypt watercolour was used to illustrate the books of the dead and wooden sarcophaguses. In Europe it was Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) who made the decisive step towards modern watercolour painting with his pictures of landscapes, animals and plants.