Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Ercolano....


Ercolano is  modern Italian for Herculaneum and is a town located at the foot of Mount Vesuvius. You can see from this thermal shot the size of the volcano.

This side view shows the veins of rich red and orange oxides formed from volcanic action. Hematite and other minerals form the bright veins of ercolano pigments.



Ercolano red is a beautiful rich oxide composed of hematite, clay, chalk and silica.


Ercolano red gives depth and warmth when used in traditional egg tempera.

When studying with Carolina d'Ayala Valva last month, we used ercolano red as one of our main colors of our palette.

Ercolano orange is not as strong in hematite, thus the color is not as red. It is also mined in the quarries in northern Italy -product of the volcanic action from Mount Vesuvius...


Ercolano blue is , to me, the most prized as it is much harder to find. It is deeper than sky blue , almost a turquoise.

I just received over five kilos (bought all that the supplier had!) This will be shared with a friend who introduced me to the color many years ago. I will now have to find new suppliers-here is one and another if you care to work with the magic of ercolano!

7 comments:

Lynne Rutter | the Ornamentalist said...

please can i have just a smidge of this pleeeeeeeze?

Patrick Gracewood said...

Theresa,
Your ercolano post is the best of blogging: a beautiful space age map illustrates a centuries old technique.

I looked a long time at the second photo to see if the shell and its pigments was painted or real... which led me to appreciate the use of the scallop shells as containers,and possible reminders of a good meal. Practical, inspirational, beautiful, and a mindful link to artists past.

I worked for 6 weeks for an artist oil paint manufacturer- before being replaced by a machine- thank god! Opening 55 gallon drums of pure pigment was close to a sacrament. I was all I could do NOT to climb into the purple drum. That much pure color has its own magic. Magic that hold even in a shell full.

Mark D. Ruffner said...

A very exciting posting! One can see looking at the pigment, and then at your painting, that Ercolano produces a gorgeous hue. Thanks for the links, too!

Regina at Fauxology said...

What extraordinary colors -- fabulous post! Funnily enough, I *just* finished reading Sacré Bleu, a (fiction) book about the color blue by Chris Moore. Specifically, a rare and mystical blue -- one that obsesses various artists. ("This is a story about the color blue. It may dodge and weave, hide and deceive, take you down paths of love and history and inspiration, but it's always about blue.") It has a few of the Belle Epoque masters as characters. You've reminded me of just how much wonderful rhapsody can surround the pursuit of a beautiful color.

scooter said...

Thanks for a wonderful post...beautiful, wondrous, unbelievable colors. And thanks for the links...definitely must have some of these jewels for the canvas.

Cleta

Anonymous said...

Yay! I'm glad you got your pigment.

King Bedroom said...

Lovely day
Ercolano....
While reading this magical article, I have feel that this blog really has all the quality that qualify a blog to be a good one!

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