Oil paint is simple. At its most basic, it’s just a mixture of oil and pigment. But depending on the color and quality, a liter of this paint could cost you $285 to $1,100.

While the rise of oil paint is associated with the Renaissance, paintings using poppy-seed oil have been dated as far back as seventh-century Afghanistan. So what is it that makes this paint so special? And why is it so expensive?

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