Monday, December 18, 2006

The Pigment used for Making Emerald Green Paint

This article looks at how Emerald Green paint used to be made and how dangerous it was to be to be a painter!


Emerald Green

This shade of green is particularly light and bright, with a faint bluish tint. The name is derived from the typical appearance of the Emerald gemstone.

However it is chemically unstable and very poisonous.

The colour of Emerald Green pigment can range from a pale, but vivid, blue green when very finely ground, to a deeper true green when coarsely ground.

A Bit of History

Chemical name: Copper(II)-acetoarsenite

This copper aceto-arsenite pigment was first produced commercially in Germany in 1814.

A quote from the time tells how green paint was made –

"Verdigris (or acetic acid) was dissolved in vinegar and warmed. A watery solution of white arsenic was added to it so that a dirty green solution was formed. To correct the colour, fresh vinegar was added to dissolve the solid particles. The solution was then boiled and bright blue-green sediment was obtained. It was then separated from the liquid, washed and dried on low heat and ground in thirty percent linseed oil. "

The Choice of Famous Artists

Emerald Green was Cezanne's favourite pigment, and it dominates many of his paintings. In his watercolours, the thin washes of this colour have turned brown but thicker applications have remained bright green. Cezanne developed severe diabetes, which is a symptom of chronic arsenic poisoning.

This pigment was also a favoured by other artists of this era, such as Van Gogh. Monet's blindness and Van Gogh's neurological disorders are likely directly related to their use of Emerald Green, as well as lead pigments, mercury-based Vermilion, and solvents such as turpentine.

I bet they wished they only needed to nip out to the store to get some more paint ;-)

Some Green Facts and Meanings

Ireland is sometimes called the Emerald Isle because it rains frequently and the vegetation is a very lush green. Green is the national colour of Ireland.

Libya is the only nation to have a flag that is solid green.

Green means ‘go’.

Jealousy is said to be the ‘green-eyed monster’.

You can also be ‘green with envy’.

If you are ‘green about the gills’ you are looking sickly and pale.

Green is the healing colour, and the colour of nature.

Green is the easiest colour on the eye. So it is a popular decorating colour.

It is a calming and refreshing colour. People waiting to appear on TV wait in the ‘Green Room’. Hospitals often use green (uniforms and walls) to help patients to relax.

In the middle ages brides wore green to symbolise fertility.

In ancient Greece green symbolised victory.

Dark green is said to represent masculinity, conservatism and wealth.


I hope you have a lovely holiday season and that Santa is good to you!

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