Lapis lazuli / Ultramarine Blue | History of Colors | LittleArtTalks

What is ultramarine

Ultramarine in art

Ultramarine in nature exists in the form of a colored or colorless mineral called lapis lazuli. It acquires its stunning bright blue due to calcination. In the 17th century, ultramarine was considered the best paint for medieval artists, which was imported from the East. In ancient India and Iran, lapis lazuli was ground with stone millstones, calcined, burning off sulfur, and ground again. Then, the resulting powder was mixed with wax, resin, and oil, again manipulated with friction, and as a result azure dye was obtained.
In Russia, the paint from lapis lazuli was called “stuffed cabbage” and was highly valued by icon painters, who used it for their best masterpieces.
For Western Europeans, the cost of ultramarine was more expensive than gold. Thus, the world-famous artist Titian, while working in Venice, specifically stipulated the condition of supplying him three ounces of azure. At that time, expensive and hard-to-use paint was used exclusively for the most important elements of paintings - for example, the Virgin's robe was painted with lazurite.

Ultramarine in everyday life

In the modern world, ultramarine or hue is sometimes used in interiors, making it a primary focus point. In various industries, it is used to make paints, bluing paper, linen, food and dyeing rubber. In addition, blue ultramarine is used in the dyeing of chalk, polymeric materials, cement, as well as in the production of soap, ink, household chemicals, rubber, cosmetics and carbon paper.
The rich color of ultramarine goes well with black, white, bright green and bright yellow shades.
Another advantage of ultramarine is its excellent whitening property, which completely neutralizes yellowness due to the unique reddish tint. When using ultramarine as a bleach, the color does not change depending on the lighting, which is very much appreciated by manufacturers of detergents, paints and polymer products.
According to its main characteristics, ultramarine is not a toxic pigment and is absolutely harmless both during processing and as part of the final product. It has excellent heat resistance, light resistance and weather resistance.Ultramarine does not migrate, is environmentally friendly and has excellent dispersion, as well as high alkali and acid resistance.

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