Artists as chemists

Humans have created their visual art from the materials around them. We have used compounds and elements from the earth, and extracted substances from living things. Artists have become amateur chemists in the process. This section examines some of the materials used and their development through advances in chemistry.


The emergence of new techniques and pigments

The emergence of new techniques and pigments within Greek art


Prehistoric pigments

What pigments were used for cave painting and where did they come from?


Roman commerce in pigments

Did the Romans use the same materials as the Greeks in their painting? And where did the pigments come from?


Egyptian blue

The Egyptians sought a permanent blue pigment to depict their royalty and gods with the necessary reverence. Here we look at how the Egyptian achieved a blue pigment that didn’t degrade over time.


Egyptian materials and pigments

Ancient Egyptian artists are known for developing a wider range of materials for their art.This resource looks at the pigments and materials the Egyptians used to create their art.