Red Red is the color of fire and blood. Hebrew words for blood and red have the same origin: "dm" means red and "dom" means blood. Blood and fire have both positive and negative connotations: bloodshed, aggression, war, and hate are on one side, and love, warmth and compassion on the other side. In ancient Egypt, red was the color of life and of victory. During celebrations, Egyptians would paint their bodies with red ochre. The normal skin tone of Egyptian men was depicted as red, without any negative connotation. Ancient Greeks associated the bright, luminous red with the male principle. Red was also the color of the Greek gods of war, Phoebus and Ares. In prehistoric cultures, however, red was associated with the female principle. Mother Earth provided the Neolithic peoples with red ochre, which was credited with life-giving powers. The association of the red color with the female principle in Japan survives to the present day.
Red The oldest pigment was probably red ochre, which was used in cave art. The ancient world had red madder lake, artificially-made red lead, and vermilion (natural mineral cinnabar). Artificially-made vermilion was the most prominent red pigment until the manufacture of cadmium red in 1907.
Red Ochre Red ochre is composed mainly of iron oxide, hematite which word comes from Greek, hema meaning blood. Used from prehistory and throughout history, these permanent pigments can be safely mixed with other pigments. Ochres vary widely in transparency; some are quite opaque, while others are valued for their use as glazes.
Carmine lake There are two varieties of carmine lake, both produced from insects, cochineal lake and kermes lake and both employed as a dye and lake. Cochineal lake comes from cochineal beetle, native to the New World, which was used by the Aztecs for dyeing and painting and was brought to Europe in the sixteenth century following the Spanish conquest. Kermes lake comes from an other species of cochineal living on certain species of European oaks. These insects were scratched from the twigs with the fingernails and produced a powerful permanent scarlet dye believed to be that obtained from the Phoenicians by the Hebrews to dye the curtains of their tabernacle.
Vermillion An orangish red pigment with excellent hiding power and good permanence. It's a mercury sulfide mineral (cinnabar) used from antiquity through to the present though only scarcely due to its toxicity. Made artificially from the 8th century (vermilion), it was the principle red in painting until the manufacture of its synthetic equivalent, cadmium red.
Orange The color we know as orange was referred to in Old English as “geoluhread,” which means yellow-red. The word “orange” was adopted after the eponymous fruit was introduced to English via the Spanish word naranja, which came from the Sanskrit word nāraṅga. Orange conveys energy, enthusiasm, and balance. It has less intensity or violence than red, and is calmed by the happiness of yellow. The color orange often relates to autumn, when the leaves turn shades of orange and brown. Orange is also tied to Hinduism and Buddhism. In Hinduism, the color orange represents fire, a metaphor for the inner transformation that is experienced by swamis donning orange robes. Orange is also used for safety purposes as a warning color. Orange can be found on dangerous machinery, high visibility clothing, and traffic cones.
Orange The pure orange pigments realgar and chrome orange were favored by the Impressionists. Less pure tones of orange were found largely in the ochre family and lately in the cadmium family. Cadmium orange is a popular color in oils, acrylics, and watercolors. The more recently developed Azo orange is cheaper than cadmium orange, is non-toxic, and retains the same degree of lightfastness.
Cadmium Yellow/Orange/Red The range of cadmium pigments, yellow, orange, red are basically cadmium yellow (cadmium sulfide) with some selenium added in place of sulfur (cadmium selenide). It has very high hiding power and good permanence. A cadmium red was available as a commercial product from 1919. The pigment was used sparingly due to the scarcity of cadmium metal and therefore because was more expansive.
Yellow The oldest yellow pigment is yellow ochre, which was amongst the first pigments used by humans. Egyptians and the ancient world made wide use of the mineral orpiment for a more brilliant yellow than yellow ochre. In the Middle Ages, Europeans manufactured lead tin yellow. They later imported Indian yellow and rediscovered the method for the production of Naples yellow, which was used by the Egyptians. Modern chemistry led to the creation of many other yellows, including chrome yellow, cadmium yellow, lemon yellow, and cobalt yellow.
Yellow The word yellow comes from the Old English geolu. Yellow is associated with sunshine, knowledge, and the flourishing of living creatures, but also with autumn and maturity. The yellow sun was one of humanity’s most important symbols and was worshiped as God in many cultures. According to Greek mythology, the sun-god Helios wore a yellow robe and rode in a golden chariot drawn by four fiery horses across the heavenly firmament. The radiant yellow light of the sun personified divine wisdom. In China, yellow is assigned to the active and creative male Yang principle, while ancient Egyptians ascribed yellow to the female principle. In the English language, yellow has traditionally been associated with jaundice and cowardice. In Italy, "yellow" ("giallo") refers to crime stories, both fictional and real. This association began around 1930, when the first published series of crime novels had yellow covers. Yellow is also the color of caution. Yellow lights signal drivers to slow down in anticipation of stopping. Construction scenes and other dangerous area are often enclosed by a bright yellow barricade tape repeating the word "caution."
Indian Yellow Clear, deep and luminescent yellow pigment. Indian yellow, magnesium euxanthate, used since ancient times in the Far East, was used by European artist painters in both oil paints and watercolors from the 15th to the 19th century. It was likely first used by Dutch artists, and before the end of 18th century it was commonly used by artists across Europe. It’s origin was unknown until an investigation in the year 1883 which discovered that indian yellow pigment was manufactured in rural India from the urine of cattle fed only on mango leaves and water. Banned in England in 19th Century
Naples Yellow One of the oldest synthetic pigments with very good hiding power, tinting strength, drying properties and chemical stability. It's a lead antimonate used as a colour tint in yellow ceramic glazes in Babylon and Assyria and was also found in Egyptian glass of the XIX Dynasty. It was reputably a pigment in the palette of the Old Masters but generally its history is unsure.
Yellow Ochre Yellow ochre is a natural mineral consisting of silica and clay owing its color to an iron oxyhydroxide mineral, goethite. It is found throughout the world, in many shades, in hues from yellow to brown. The best brown ochre comes from Cyprus. Used throughout history, this permanent pigment can be safely mixed with other pigments. Synthetic yellow ochre, Mars yellow, have been made since the early 1920s.
Green The word green is closely related to the Old English verb growan, “to grow.” Green is the color of life. It is the color of seasonal renewal. Since verdant spring triumphs over barren winter, green symbolizes hope and immortality. The Chinese associate green (and black) with the female Yin - the passive and receiving principle. Islam venerates the color green, expecting paradise to be full of lush vegetation. Green is also associated with regeneration, fertility, and rebirth due to its connections with nature. In Alchemy, solvents for gold were named "Green Lion" or "Green Dragon" by the alchemists. Such liquids were instrumental in the beginning of the alchemistic Opus Magnum. Transparent green crystal symbolized the "secret fire," which represented the living spirit of substances. In some cultures, green symbolizes hope and growth, while in others, it is associated with death, sickness, or the devil. It can also describe someone who is inexperienced, jealous, or sick.
Green In painting, green is not a primary color, but is created by mixing yellow and blue. Green pigments have been used since Antiquity, both in the form of natural earth and malachite, used primarily by Egyptians. Greeks introduced verdigris, one of the first artificial pigments. Copper resinate was introduced in European 15th century easel panting, but was soon discarded. Thanks to chemistry, a new generation of greens was introduced beginning in the late 18th century: cobalt green, emerald green, and viridian.
Emerald Green It's a poisonous copper-acetoarsenite developed in an attempt to improve Scheele's green in 1808 and commercially availble from 1814. This became known in England as emerald green, and for a time it was the finest green pigment known, rapidly displacing Scheele's green. Unusually it has a brilliant blue-green to green color with fair hiding power. Unfortunately, it is also chemically not stable and very poisonous and therefore was used just until early 1900s. Because it was quite cheap to manufacture, emerald green was used not only as an artist’s paint but as a household paint: it was widely used on patterned wallpaper. This made damp rooms death traps, and in the 1860s the British Times newspaper expressed alarm about the possibility that young children were being killed by the deadly fumes emanating from their bedroom walls. It is believed that Napoleon’s death in exile on St Helena was hastened this way.
Verdigris A moderately-transparent bluish green with low stability. It's a copper acetate, used often, from antiquity through the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Baroque. Today is rarely sold as an artists pigment due to its toxic nature. Verdigris was the most vibrant green available until the 19th century. Often mixed with, or glazed over lead white or lead-tin yellow because of its transparency. The most reactive and unstable of all the copper pigments often aging to a dark brown or black.
Blue Blue is the color of sky and water. From the time of the ancient Egyptians, the blue depths of water personified the female principle, while sky blue was associated with the male principle. Blue is the color of all heavenly gods and stands for distance, for the divine, and for the spiritual. Blue is also the symbol of fidelity. Blue flowers, such as forget-me-nots and violets, symbolize faithfulness. According to an old English custom, a bride wears blue ribbons on her wedding gown and a blue sapphire in her wedding ring. Tiny flowers of blue speedwell are part of the wedding bouquet. In the English language, blue sometimes refers to sadness. The phrase "feeling blue" is linked to a custom amongst old sailing ships. If a ship loses her captain, she would fly blue flags when returning to home port. In German, to be "blue" (blausein) is to be drunk. This derives from the ancient use of urine (which is produced copiously by the human body after drinking alcohol) in dyeing cloth blue with woad or indigo. However, the color blue also had other associations in Germany. The Blue Flower was the symbol of German 19th century Romanticism, thanks to the novel fragment Heinrich von Ofterdingen, by the German poet Novalis.
Blue The first blue pigment was azurite, a natural mineral. Soon thereafter, Egyptians manufactured Egyptian blue, which quickly spread throughout the ancient world. During the Middle Ages, the recipe for Egyptian blue was lost, so azurite and expensive ultramarine from Afghanistan were the only sources of blue available. In the 15th century, smalt, a finely ground blue glass, came into use for painting. The first pigment produced due to the advancement of modern chemistry was a blue, Prussian blue, which was soon followed by cobalt blue and cerulean blue.
Cobalt Blue It's a cobalt oxide-aluminum oxide. Very costly and extraordinary stable pigment of pure blue color discovered by Thénard in 1802. It is now the most important of the cobalt pigments. Although smalt, a pigment made from cobalt blue glass has been known at least since the Middle Ages, the cobalt blue established in the nineteenth century was a greatly improved one. Vincent van Gogh declared to his brother Teo, ‘Cobalt [blue] is a divine color and there is nothing so beautiful for putting atmosphere around things…"
Ultramarine The finest blue known to the ancients, was obtained from the precious stone lapis lazuli (lazurite), a costly mineral. The mineral lazurite is a complex sodium calcium aluminum silicate sulfate. Lapis lazuli has been mined for centuries from a location still in use today in the mountain valley of Kokcha, Afghanistan. First mined 6,000 years ago, the rock was transported to Egypt and later to Europe where it was used in jewelry and paint pigment. Europeans called the expensive powdered pigment ultramarine, which literally means over the sea. Since the 19th century, ultramarine has been manufactured artificially Ultramarine blue is a historical pigment having been found in Egyptian tomb paintings. Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarotti used the pigment. Synthetic ultramarine was produced at the beginning of the nineteenth Century.
Prussian Blue Dark blue, called the first of the modern pigments. It has very high tinting strength but is only fairly permanent to light and air. It's an Iron-hexacyanoferrate accidentally formed while experimenting with the oxidation of iron. The pigment was available to artists by 1724 and was extremely popular throughout the three centuries since its discovery.
Purple The word “purple” comes from the Old English word “purpul,” which is from the Latin “purpura” and from the ancient Greek “porphyra.” This was the name of the Tyrian purple dye manufactured in classical antiquity. In human color psychology, purple is associated with royalty and nobility because Tyrian purple was only affordable to the elite. Byzantine empresses gave birth in the Purple Chamber. Therefore, Porphyrogenitus ("born to the purple") was the name of an emperor which gained his throne by dinasty and not by force. Purples are the shades of color occurring between red and blue. On a chromaticity diagram, the line connecting the extreme spectral colors red and violet is known as the “line of purples.” Some confusion exists concerning the color names "purple" and "violet.” Purple is typically defined as a mixture of red and blue light, whereas violet is a specific spectral color (approximately 380-420 nm).
Manganese Violet This strong violet pigment is a complex of manganese ammonium pyrophosphate. It is stronger violet than ultramarine and is primarily used in eye products. Manganese violet decomposes in water and cannot be used in hydrated emulsion systems. It is relatively stable in acid ph ranges.
Brown The word brown comes from Old English “brún,” used for any dusky or dark shade of color. Brown represents earthiness. While brown might be considered a little dull compared to the other colors, brown also represents simplicity, health, and dependability. UPS (United Parcel Service) long ago adopted brown as its corporate color, and companies today often use brown paper to denote a natural product. Although brown may not be as glamorous as other colors, its importance in painting is highly recognized by artists, who use browns such as burnt sienna and burnt umber to create subtle gradations from light to dark. The color brown therefore enables artists to create a sense of realism on the canvas.
Brown Humanity had pure brown pigments from the beginning of art. Umber is a natural earth color with many natural (raw umber, raw sienna) and manmade (burnt umber, burnt sienna) variations, providing painters throughout history with many brown shades to satisfy their visual needs. In the 17th century, another natural earth color came into use, namely Van Dyke brown. Although earthy browns were available for artists’ use, in the 18th and 19th centuries European artists commonly used a brown called "mommia" that was made from corpses. Egyptian mummies were exhumed and processed for commercial use as artist paint. Another odd source of the color brown was the cuttlefish, whose secretions of dark ink were used to create sepia dye. These days, artificial dyes have replaced cuttlefish ink for sepia. Brown may cover a wide range of the visible spectrum because it refers to more hues (yellow, orange, or red) in combination with low luminance or saturation. Its shades are named using composite adjectives, such as red brown, yellowish brown, dark brown, and so forth. Browns can be made from primary colors, mixing blue with yellow to get green and then, mixing green with red. Browns can also be made simply by mixing orange or red color with a bit of black paint.
Van Dyke Brown It's a transparent brown natural earth containing usually over 90% of organic matter. Derived from earth compounds such as soil and peat and positively identified in paintings since 17th century, was extensively used in the 19th Century in both oils and water color. This color is found in the pictures of the old masters, among them Rubens, who used it mixed with gold ochre as a warm, transparent brown, which held up particularly well in resin varnish.
Umber Umber is a natural mixture of iron and manganese oxides and hydroxides. Used throughout history, it has earthtones from cream to brown depending on the amount of iron and manganese compounds and is totally stable. This pigments it's known also has Sienna earth. It could in two varieties: Raw earth umber(Raw Sienna earth): the earth just mined and ground into a pigment Burnt umber (Burnt Sienna earth): the raw earth umber pigment is also calcinated in order to get darker shades.
Black The color black represents opposing ideas: authority and humility, rebellion and conformity, and wealth and poverty. Black also signifies absence, modernity, power, elegance, professionalism, mystery, evil, traditionalism, and sorrow. Black also implies submission. Priests wear black to signify submission to God. In Western countries, black is the color of mourning, while in many African countries white is the color worn during funerals. In Japanese culture, black means experience, as opposed to white, which symbolizes naiveté. Thus the black belt is a mark of achievement and seniority in many martial arts, whereas a white belt is worn by beginners.
Black Carbon black was the first black. This dull black is the easiest to manufacture because it is made of charcoal. Another black is vine black, which is traditionally made by charring desiccated grape vines and stems, which produce beautiful bluish blacks. Bone black, made of burnt bones from prehistoric times, is the deepest available black. Rembrandt used bone black for the black clothing worn by his sitters in order to distinguish them from the already dark night surroundings.
Black The Russian painter and art theorist Wassily Kandinsky interprets the color black as: “a totally dead silence... A silence with no possibilities, has the inner harmony of black. In music it is represented by one of those profound and final pauses, after which any continuation of the melody seems the dawn of another world. Black is something burnt out, like the ashes of a funeral pyre, something motionless like a corpse. The silence of black is the silence of death. Outwardly black is the color with least harmony of all, a kind of neutral background against which the minute shades of other colors stand clearly forward. It differs from white in this also, for with white nearly every color is in discord, or even mute altogether.”
Carbon black Carbon black was used as a pigment since very earliest times. Carbon blacks are made by heating wood, or other plant material, with a very restricted air supply. Sticks of charcoal have been used for sketching by artists of all periods, and traces of their work may be found on the ground layer of paintings. Carbon black was used both in oil and watercolour. Carbon black is used today in photocopier and laser printer toner. Carbon black is easy to prepare and has excellent hiding power. Carbon black is just a common name for a black pigment, traditionally produced from charring organic materials such as wood. There are lots of varieties of names, each of which reflects a traditional method for producing a particular kind of carbon black. The most important are: Vine black was traditionally produced by charring desiccated grape vines and stems. Lamp black was traditionally produced by collecting soot, also known as lampblack, from oil lamps.
White White objects such as clouds, snow, and flowers often appear in nature, creating many references within our human culture to the color white. In some cultures, like China’s, the color white represents death and illness. In many cultures, however, white represents freedom, purity, and innocence. This is why, for example, white is worn by brides in Western countries. In ancient Egypt, white suggested omnipotence and purity. The name of the holy city of Memphis meant "White Walls." White sandals were worn at holy ceremonies. Ritual objects, such as small ceremonial bowls, were often white. The high contrast between white and black is often used to represent opposite concepts, such as day and night, and good and evil. In Taoism, which has great influence in Eastern culture, yin and yang are usually depicted in black and white. Toxic lead white was used by artists for hundreds of years before it was widely banned in the late 20th century. Lead white was commonly used not only as a canvas primer, but also for creating tints of various colors as well as highlights. Lead white was also regularly used in cosmetics, often with fatal consequences.
White Lime powder and gesso where the first whites available in prehistoric times. The most important contribution to art materials from Greece was lead white, a pigment that would become ubiquitous in Western art. Modern whites are zinc white and titanium white. Thanks to its excellent qualities, titanium white has largely replaced lead white in both art and industry.
White Wassily Kandinsky, a Russian painter and art theorist, describes his perception of the color white: “... white, although often considered as no color (a theory largely due to the Impressionists, who saw no white in nature), is a symbol of a world from which all color as a definite attribute has disappeared. This world is too far above us for its harmony to touch our souls. A great silence, like an impenetrable wall, shrouds its life from our understanding. White, therefore, has its harmony of silence, which works upon us negatively, like many pauses in music that break temporarily the melody. It is not a dead silence, but one pregnant with possibilities. White has the appeal of the nothingness that is before birth, of the world in the ice age.”
Lead white Lead white has the warmest masstone of all the whites. It has a very subtle reddish-yellow undertone that is almost unnoticeable unless you are looking for it, or comparing lead white side by side with other kinds of white. This undertone is minimal in the best quality of lead whites. Lead white (native mineral is cerusite) is a carbonate of lead which was in use since antiquity and was prepared from metallic lead and vinegar. It was the only white used in European easel paintings until the 19th century when its poisonous lead content restricted its manufacture and sale as an artist’s pigment. Lead white is also the fastest drying of all of the whites because of the drying action of the lead pigment upon the oil. This makes lead white particularly valuable for painters who need a relatively fast drying time for underpainting or Alla Prima techniques.