Lapis Lazuli - lazurite (blue) with calcite (white) and pyrite (gold)
Stories of Lapis Lazuli, a rock composed of several minerals, are woven through most of recorded human history. Mined in Afghanistan since 7000BC, it was often used to make beads and small scultures by humans living in the Middle East. Later, it appears in Egypt as a desired ornamental gemstone. For example, Lapis was used in the funeral mask of Tutankhamun to form his eyebrows! During the European Renaissance, the rock was ground into a fine powder to become "ultramarine" pigment, used by only the most accomplished artists due to its high cost. Artworks that use the famous blue pigment include: Girl With a Pearl Earring (Vermeer 1665) and The Starry Night (van Gogh 1889). Today, even your stock standard tube of Reeves acryllic paint is called "ultramarine blue", although the pigment is now synthetic. Unfortunately, Lapis Lazuli has become a "conflict mineral" in Afghanistan because the Taliban and IS occupy much of the area where it is mined.
This is the third in my mineral series, photographed in my home-made lightbox (cardboard box, baking paper, black fabric, perspex sheet and two desk lamps). What do you think of the result?
Nikon D7000 Sigma 105mm
★ Posting a better picture: This was the last nail in the coffin for me and my search for historic pigments. I first started making lead pigment in the summer because I couldn’t find it anywhere, and I knew it had superior qualities to other white pigments. It’s been a challenging journey ever since, and it has become a way to reflect and prepare for future works. While I was making all my other colours, I was constantly struggling to make this ultramarine pigment. It’s by far the most difficult thing I’ve done in regard to my work, but also as a general search for knowledge. I’m very impressed and pleased by the brilliance and purity of this pigment. This is only a small yield, and I have about six times the amount to get through. It’s a completely handmade pigment, and historically it’s value made it a painter’s most prized pigment. The process is very complicated, but I may attempt to create an in-depth presentation on how it’s made. ★ #alexmargarit#oilpainting#traditional#handmade#pigment#ultramarine#lapislazuli