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colorants soluble in oil


rikki1
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The old painters knew what they were doing!  And their awareness of what materials and methods lasted and aged well had the benefit of generations of continuous tradition.   I'm not so convinced we hold the high ground in the modern era when we readily use products and materials that only have a few years or a few decades of testing behind them.

 

Many of the traditional pigments are very very stable.  Mineral pigments like vermilion/cinnabar, earth colors, and carbon blacks for example just aren't actually going to change.    Only their tempering in binder changes.

 

The old artists had the perspective of generations of experience, and they created works to endure for generations or even centuries.   When these artists say that a pigment is usable, they have good cause.  A number of pigments that modern practice has labeled 'fugitive' or unstable were commonly used by the old artists.   Why are we so quick to reject colors the old masters embraced?   Many of the organic colorants can degrade under various circumstances..  But captured in a well precipitated lake or sealed up in the right binders some of these organics were embraced, and can be used today.

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The old painters knew what they were doing!  And their awareness of what materials and methods lasted and aged well had the benefit of generations of continuous tradition.   I'm not so convinced we hold the high ground in the modern era when we readily use products and materials that only have a few years or a few decades of testing behind them.

 

Many of the traditional pigments are very very stable.  Mineral pigments like vermilion/cinnabar, earth colors, and carbon blacks for example just aren't actually going to change.    Only their tempering in binder changes.

 

The old artists had the perspective of generations of experience, and they created works to endure for generations or even centuries.   When these artists say that a pigment is usable, they have good cause.  A number of pigments that modern practice has labeled 'fugitive' or unstable were commonly used by the old artists.   Why are we so quick to reject colors the old masters embraced?   Many of the organic colorants can degrade under various circumstances..  But captured in a well precipitated lake or sealed up in the right binders some of these organics were embraced, and can be used today.

 

Exactly right. Even saffron stays fresh in old books and manuscripts, as long as it is not exposed to light.  

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Indeed, I think egyptologists found several tombs covered with paintings with still vivid colors.

 

Reminds me of a passage in one of Laurie's books.

 

We have seen, for instance, that a pure resin varnish of 1500 B.C., made from a soft resin readily soluble in alcohol, continues to be fresh and bright although the wood of the coffin is crumbling to powder. This varnish has of course been preserved under peculiarly favourable conditions; but there is at any rate no evidence that a varnish of oil and resin or pece greca is not practically indestructible under favourable conditions, such as when used on a picture to be preserved with care from injury and exposure to weather. The severe tests to which modern varnishes are exposed throw no light on this question.
 
I am personally disposed to think, though I know some leading authorities will not agree with me, that just as linseed oil alone has proved remarkably durable, so linseed oil loaded merely with common rosin will prove even more durable under proper conditions, such as when laid on a picture panel, and, while probably becoming covered with fine cracks, will not necessarily decay further. The matter, however, requires further investigation.
 
Laurie, A. P. (Arthur Pillans), 1861-1949. The materials of the painter's craft in Europe and Egypt : from earliest times to the end of the XVIIth century, with some account of their preparation and use (Kindle Locations 3352-3360). London ; Edinburgh : T.N. Foulis. 

 

 

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With soluble dyes, or organic colors, it's a good idea to test them in the actual varnish you use. They can react with the medium, and also with each other over time in a way which alters their permanence.

 

I had one set of dyes which I had found to be excellent. Upon using them in a different varnish, much of the color went away over a period of several years, even with little exposure to light (just normal interior light levels).

 

It's pretty easy to test light-fastness of colored varnish by taping a sample to the inside of a sunny window or car windshield. I don't know though how effective this is at exposing all problems which might occur from chemical interactions. It appears that some of these can occur without light exposure.

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