Interlude in Blue #1 Guide

Interlude in Blue # 1 Sacré Bleu

Madonna_and_child,_londonDomenico Veneziano [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Madonna and Child by Domenico Veneziano around 1440. Note that the browns and greens of the painting have degraded and faded over the years, while the blue remains relatively vibrant (as does the gold, which is real, gold leaf). One of the reasons ultramarine was so prized, was that it did not fade like other plant or metal-based blues.



A polished piece of lapis lazuli, from which ultramarine blue is made.


Crushed lapis lazuli, or ultramarine pigment. This photo actually apears a bit duller than ultramarine that I’ve seen in person. It may be due to lighting, or it may be not be finished in the processing.


These two panels are details from a fresco called The Last Judgement (1304), by Giotto di Bondone, considered to be the first of the Italian Renaissance Masters. This would have been around the time that fabric dyers were freaking out about not having
a solid source for the color blue, so were bribing craftsmen (which is what painters were considered) to paint devils and demons in blue. It should probably be noted that
in this same painting, Jesus is wearing a robe painted in a much brighter shade of ultramarine, so rather than a function of bribery, Giotto may have been trying to portray
the “darkness” of damnation.