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MITRA Forum Question Details

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  • CochinealApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2018-04-27 11:24:04 ... Most recent comment 2018-05-01 23:22:26
    Art Conservation Topics Oil Paint Casein Paint Making Pigments Technical Art History

    ​I would like to find out what is the best way to prepare cochineal to last as much as possible, (is there anything that can be done to improve its lighfastnest) 

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    No, not really. The coloring component, carminic acid, is very fugitive. In reality, it should never be used for artwork or any purpose that requires a color to last. It is best reserved for high-end makeup and Starbuck’s drinks where there is no expectation of color permanence. The use of this color is the reason why the female subjects are all ghostly white in paintings by Sir Joshua Reynolds. The red compoent of the skin color faded even in the artist’s lifetime and he lamented his use of the pigment later in life.

    Brian Baade
    2018-04-27 15:09:46
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​The only examples of it being used that have survived well, from what I know, are in illuminated manuscripts. But then, those were either in closed books, or rolled up scrolls, and so not exposed to light except for the brief moments of being viewed.

    Sarah Sands, Senior Technical Specialist, Golden Artist Colors
    2018-04-30 13:00:31
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    Hi, Brian and Sarah thank you so much. I want to make a reproduction of the Virgin of Guadalupe and most of the original paintings that copied the original and if not the original contained cochineal and the cochineal have faded, I want to find out what the color could have looked like, from then on... I would like to find a modern more permanent substitute maybe using a pigment like pv19...or other colors that would let me replicate as close as possible what the natural cochineal color looks like.... any suggestions as what modern colors would most likely replicate the original carmine hue?

    2018-04-30 15:23:25
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    PV19 can be found in a range of hues from crimson to rather violet.

    Quinacridone red is the most permanent pigment in the same hue range. It is far more saturated in color and is not as transparent nor as deep in value as carmine. I would experiment with using quinacridone red and adding very small amounts of a dark burnt umber and even an extremely tiny bit of a very dark transparent color like pthalo green to deepen the value and slightly cut saturation. Now when I write extremely tiny, I am almost talking on the “homeopathic” scale ;)

    There are a few art material suppliers who offer a wide range other quinacridones and some might be closer to carmine in hue, saturation, and value. Additionally, while I have not tested it, a mixture of quinacridone red and quinacridone Burnt Scarlet PR 206 would seem promising.

    Brian Baade
    2018-04-30 21:26:34
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​Brian, Thank you so much! I wil try and report back with the results.

    2018-05-01 23:22:26

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