Pigment Guide: Madder Lake and Alizarin Crimson

Pigment code: Madder Lake – NR.9; Alizarin Crimson PR. 83

Madder Lake is a natural pigment extracted from the common madder plant Rubia tinctorum. This pigment has being well-known from ancient times and was used in Rome, Greece and Egypt. Madder Lake was introduced to Europe in 13th century, when it was brought there by Crusaders.

Madder Lake is a transparent paint with medium light-fastness. Hues vary from cool red to purple shades. Madder Lake forms very interesting and beautiful shades in combination with blue colours. Due to high transparency Madder Lake is ideal for glazing techniques. For example, lips at Girl with a Pearl Earring painting by Vermeer were glazed with Madder Lake.

In late 19th century Madder Lake was replaced by its mineral cousin – Alizarin Crimson (PR. 83). However, due to low light-fastness of Alizarin Crimson modern chemistry has to offer better and stronger pigments like benzimida carmine (PR176), pyrrole rubine (PR264), anthraquinone red (PR177), and quinacridone violet (PV19). Watch for labels!

Our paints correspond to modern standards of paint-manufacturing. Even student-grade paints, like Ladoga and Sonnet, are made with high-quality pigments.

Add Your Comment