do you know ABOUT PIGMENTS
A Short History Of Pigments
The story of pigments is a story of chance, experimentation and science but above all it is about providing human beings with the means by which to express themselves, and this has helped create some of our greatest artistic movements including the Renaissance, Impressionism and Modernism.
Creativity Born In The Caves
Early man used earth pigments on the cave walls such as yellow earth (Ochre), red earth (Ochre) and white chalk. Ochres are coloured clays that are found as soft deposits within the earth. Carbon (Lamp) black was also used, collected from the soot of burning animal fats.
Pigments were produced on a larger scale by the Egyptians and the Chinese. Earth colours were cleaned and washed increasing their strength and purity, and new pigments appeared from minerals such as Malachite, Azurite and Cinnabar prized as the first known bright red. Egyptian Blue was first produced around 3,000 BC - a blue glass made from sand and copper which was ground into a powder.
With the rebirth of interest in artistry, the Italians threw themselves into developing the range of earth pigments by roasting siennas and umbers to make the deep rich red of Burnt Sienna and the rich brown of Burnt Umber. Earth colours featured heavily in their painting technique, Terre Verte (Green Earth) being the principle underpainting colour for flesh tones.
Modern Times, M odern M ethods
The opening up of trade routes in the 18th century coupled with advances in technology and science allowed for greater experimentation. In 1704, a German colour maker Diesbach created Prussian Blue by accident in his laboratory and this became the first chemically synthesized colour. In 1828 a low cost blue was created by Jean-Baptiste Guimet called French Ultramarine. The artificial pigment is chemically identical to genuine ultramarine but physically finer and has none of the impurities of the lapis rock.