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Michelangelo couldn’t afford ultramarine. His painting The Entombment, the story goes, was left unfinished as the result of his failure to procure the prized pigment. Rafael reserved ultramarine for his final coat, preferring for his base layers a common azurite; Vermeer was less parsimonious in his application and proceeded to mire his family in debt. Read More
Scarlet is a brilliant red color, sometimes with a slightly orange tinge. In the spectrum of visible light, and on the traditional color wheel, it is one-quarter of the way between red and orange, slightly less orange than vermilion. Read More
The first modern, artificially manufactured color was Prussian blue. It was made by the colormaker Diesbach of Berlin in about 1704. Diesbach accidentally formed the blue pigment when experimenting with the oxidation of iron. The pigment was available to artists by 1724 and was extremely popular thr Read More
Sap green was firstly recorded by the Italian painter Cennino Cennini (c.1360), who is remembered for having authored Il libro dell’arte, a ‘how to’ book on late Medieval and early Renaissance painting. In this book he stated that sap green would not last and he was right. The addition of alum did make the colour more durable, but not permanent by contemporary standards. Read More