"The oldest oil painting now in existence, is believed to be one of the Madonna and infant Jesus in her arms, with an Eastern style of countenance. It is marked DCCCLXXXVI. (886). This singular and valuable painting formed part of the treasures of art in the old palace of the Florentine Republic, and was purchased by the Director Bencivenni from a broker in the street, for a few livres."

The above is found quoted in many books, in proof that oil painting was known long before the time of the Van Eycks; but all these old supposed oil paintings have been proved by chemical analysis to have been painted in distemper. See vol. ii., p. 141, of this work.