Spotlight on deep cobalt blue pigment

Although smalt, a pigment made from deep cobalt blue glass has been known at least since the Middle Ages, the deep cobalt blue established in the nineteenth century was a greatly improved one.

The isolation of the deep cobalt blue color of smalt was discovered in the first half of the eighteenth century by the Swedish chemist Brandt. In 1777, Gahn and Wenzel found cobalt aluminate during research on cobalt compounds. Their discovery was made during experimentation with a soldering blowpipe. The color was not manufactured commercially until late in 1803 or 1804.

Deep cobalt blue was generally regarded as durable in the nineteenth century. It requires one hundred percent of oil to grind it as an oil paint otherwise its cool tone can turn greenish due to the yellowing of linseed oil. To avoid the yellowing, Laurie suggested that it be used as a glaze color or mixing it with white. It is totally stable in watercolor and fresco techniques.

This article comes from webexhibits edit released

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