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Inorganic PigmentsInorganic PigmentsWhat is a Pigment?What is an Inorganic Pigment?Historic Use of Inorganic PigmentsRelated Links and ResourcesReferences<p>Paint is composed of at least three components, a pigment, a binder, and a diluent. Pigments are colored particles that are insoluble in their binders. The earliest pigments were simply ground colored earths and soot. In the ancient world, relatively simple compounds like lead white were synthesized and natural organic colorants were discovered and employed. Many new pigments were created during the Industrial Revolution. Organic pigment synthesis began in the nineteenth century. Modern pigments are produced through sophisticated chemical processes and engineering. Pigment identification can help to date a work of art or cultural artifact, especially if the pigment was manufactured only recently.</p><p>​Unlike organic pigments, inorganic pigments are not primarily carbon based. They are generally a form of metallic salt. Natural inorganic minerals were washed, dried, and then ground into a fine powder for use. Inorganic pigments are often less brilliant than their organic counterparts and may be toxic but they are usually more opaque and lightfast.</p><p>​The earliest inorganic pigments were natural iron oxides, such as red, yellow, brown, and green iron-containing earths. These have been found in prehistoric Paleolithic and Neolithic cave paintings. Colored stones like azurite, malachite, cinnabar, and other minerals were ground to make pigments before recorded history. Lead white, red lead, and other inorganic pigments were made in the ancient world. The Middle ages saw the synthesis of additional colors like vermilion, and natural ultramarine was refined from lapis lazuli to create a brilliant blue pigment that was more costly than gold. The number of available inorganic pigments expanded greatly in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The nineteenth century saw the synthesis of synthetic ultramarine which replaced the inordinately expensive natural pigment. Nineteenth- and twentieth-century painters finally had a palette of bright, pure pigments covering the whole spectrum of hues.</p><p></p><h5><em>Click the Slides to Learn More about Inorganic Pigments</em></h5><p></p><ul><li>Previous</li><li>Next</li></ul><p></p><h5>Click on the pdf Below for a Chronological List of Traditional Pigments</h5><p></p><p><a href="/Documents/xrf-pigment-timeline-brian-baade.original.pdf">Download PDF</a></p><h5>Contents</h5><p><a href="http://www.artcons.udel.edu/about/kress/historic-materials-technical-terms/inorganic-pigments#What">What is a Pigment?</a><a href="http://www.artcons.udel.edu/about/kress/historic-materials-technical-terms/inorganic-pigments#What_is_an_Inorganic">What is an Inorganic Pigment?</a><a href="http://www.artcons.udel.edu/about/kress/historic-materials-technical-terms/inorganic-pigments#Historic_Use">Historic Use of Inorganic Pigments</a><a href="http://www.artcons.udel.edu/about/kress/historic-materials-technical-terms/inorganic-pigments#Links">Related Links and Resources</a><a href="http://www.artcons.udel.edu/about/kress/historic-materials-technical-terms/inorganic-pigments#Ref">References</a></p><h5>Related Links and Resources</h5><p><a href="http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/channel/making-colour/">"Making Purple: The Science of Art"</a></p><p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBzEAt_ynvc&feature=youtu.be&app=desktop">Extraction of Lapis Lazuli</a></p><p><a href="http://www.webexhibits.org/pigments/">Pigments Through the Ages: Webexhibit</a></p><p><a href="http://colourlex.com/">ColourLex</a></p><p><a href="http://www.winsornewton.com/about-us/our-history/history-of-pigments/">History of Pigments: Winsor & Newton</a></p><p>Berrie, B., ed. <em>Artists’ Pigments: A Handbook of their History and Characteristics, Vol. 4. </em>Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art. 2007.</p><p>Eastaugh, N., V. Walsh, T. Caplin, and R. Siddall. <em>Pigment Compendium: A Dictionary of Historical Pigments</em>. Oxford, GB: Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann. 2004.</p><p>Eastaugh, N., V. Walsh, T. Caplin, and R. Siddall. 2004. <em>Pigment Compendium: Optical Microscopy of Historical Pigments</em>. Oxford, GB: Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann. 2004.</p><p>Feller, R. L. ed. <em>Artists’ Pigments: A Handbook of their History and Characteristics,</em><em>Vol. 1. </em>Washington, DC: The National Gallery of Art. 1986.</p><p>Fitzhugh, E. F. ed. <em>Artists’ pigments: A Handbook of their History and Characteristics, Vol. 3. </em>Washington, DC: The National Gallery of Art. 1997.</p><p>Kirsh, Andrea, and Rustin S. Levenson, <em>Seeing Through Paintings: Physical Examination in Art Historical Studies</em>. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000.</p><p>Roy, A. ed. 1993. <em><em>Artists’ Pigments: A Handbook of their History and Characteristics</em>, Vol. 2.</em> Washington, DC: The National Gallery of Art. 1993.​</p>A summary of the history and characterization of inorganic pigments.

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