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Have To Be Learnt For Each Pigment Has Its Own Peculiar Habitudes

chemical, physical, artistic; but if they be good and durable, no amount
of time and study spent upon them is thrown away. To think less of the
quality of one's materials than of the effects which can be produced
with them is mistaken policy; and to be content with that quality when
better can be had, shows no real love of art, but rather indolence and

Perhaps one reason why freshly introduced pigments have not as fair a
chance as they are entitled to, is due to the fashion which prevails of
exclaiming against the fugacity of modern colours. If their detractors
would confine themselves to certain colours, there could be no denial;
but to assert, as is often done, that the cause of modern pictures not
standing is owing to modern pigments generally, is unjust. It is not
the materials which should be blamed, but those who use them. The fact
is, that the artist's knowledge has not increased in proportion to the
greater variety of colours at his command. In the early periods of art,
when the palette was chiefly confined to native pigments, the painter
could not very well go wrong. Now-a-days but too many, wanting the skill
of the old masters, seek to make amends for it by brilliancy of
colouring: with imperfect knowledge of their materials the result is
obvious. The palette, we admit, wants weeding; not only of the bad new
colours, but of the bad old colours. This, however, must be a work of
time, and depend, not upon the colourman--for where there is a demand
there will be a supply--but upon the artists themselves. To this end an
increased acquaintance with the properties of pigments is required,
whereby they may be able to choose the fast from the fugitive. It may be
fairly assumed that the painter will be assisted in his task by the
progress of chemical science, which will doubtless add from time to time
to the list of stable pigments. We have heard it remarked that there are
too many colours already--to which we reply, there are not too many good
colours, and scarcely can be. The more crowded the palette is with
reliable pigments, the more likely are the worthless to be pushed from
their places. In our opinion, there is ample room for fresh colours,
provided they be durable; and we have as little sympathy with the
stereotyped cry of there being too many, as with the fashionable
unbelief in modern pigments. Certainly, the artist who seeks for
permanence among the whites, reds, or blues, will not be troubled with a
superfluity. Certainly, too, colours are as good as ever they were, and
better--better made, better ground, better prepared for use. But, fast
and fugitive, pigments are more numerous, and for that reason need more
careful selection.


The general attributes of a perfect pigment are beauty of colour,
comprehending pureness and richness, brilliancy and intensity, delicacy
and depth,--truth of hue--transparency or opacity, well-working,
crispness, setting up, or keeping its place, and desiccation, or drying

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