Robert Fuchs

The discovery of pigment manufacture

Pigments from ancient Egypt to Greece and Rome


Ferrum 90/2018 

The first two synthetic pigments produced by mankind were Egyptian blue and Egyptian green. The latter was a substandard reject that the ancient painters learned to use and greatly valued. These pigments marked mankind’s first step away from natural mineral-based pigments to synthetic products for painting. The early history of paint pigments is fascinating and gave rise to colors that could only be used on certain materials of the objects being painted. This is a learning process that even modern researchers have to go through. The knowledge of the processes was born of the ancient artists’ creativity and attentiveness, but frequently over the centuries it was lost due to external circumstances and had to be rediscovered by modern chemistry.


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