Have You Ever Held Vermillion?

By Kimberly Brooks
June 5, 2019

Have you ever used real vermillion? Even holding the tube, its unexpected weight, takes the breath away.⁠

Made by grinding a powder of cinnabar. It must be the mercury that makes it so heavy. Or the gorgeousness.⁠

Mining cinnabar is difficult, expensive and dangerous⁠

The first documented use of vermilion pigment, made with ground cinnabar dates as far back as 8000–7000 BC.⁠

It was found at the neolithic village of Catalhoyuk, now Turkey. Cinnabar was mined in Spain beginning in about 5300 BC. ⁠

The Yangshao culture in China used it from 5000–4000 BC, where it was used for ritual ceremonies, to paint ceramics, to cover the walls and floors of rooms.⁠

It’s so beautiful to use. A brilliant red that makes my knees tremble. But not quite as hot as Cadmium. ⁠Titanium white demolishes it into a coral. But Lead White, that’s another matter altogether. 

  • Artists Interviewing Other Artists Since 2008. Founded by Kimberly Brooks.

First Person Artist

Artists Interviewing and Looking at other Artists
since 2008.
Founded by Kimberly Brooks