DAILY ART FIX: The History of the Color Red: From Ancient Paintings to Louboutin Shoes

Art world links which caught my eye...

History of the Color Red

Red Pigment

The colors of paint are created by various minerals, chemicals, or organic substances. This article reviews the various means used to create the color of passion, red.

The Jewish Bride by Rembrandt

Rembrandt “The Jewish Bride,”  1666


As with all lake pigments, carmine is made from organic matter, as opposed to minerals used in colors like ultramarine or vermilion. Made from cochineal, tiny scale insects that live on cacti, the pigment made its way to Europe in the early 16th century when Spanish conquistadors noticed the brilliant reds used by the Aztecs. Carmine made a beautiful, deep crimson that was used by nearly all of the great 15th and 16th century painters. Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Velázquez are just some of the painters that used carmine to obtain a rich red hue. The pigment must be used carefully, however, as it can change color when exposed to light.

Fun fact: Cochineal insects were a valuable European import in the 16th century, coming in third after gold and silver. Used both in paints and dyes, the resulting color was a symbol of wealth. Many European aristocrats would wear clothing dyed with cochineal, as it produced a red much stronger than the kermes varieties already available in Europe.

Read the full article here: MY MODERN MET – The History of the Color Red: From Ancient Paintings to Louboutin Shoes


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3 thoughts on “DAILY ART FIX: The History of the Color Red: From Ancient Paintings to Louboutin Shoes

  1. As much as I blab I probably have already said this, oh well, try In Search of a Perfect Red.

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