Skip to main content
Skip to main menu

Slideshow

Medieval Pigments: Creation and Analysis

How did medieval artists source and create their pigments? What techniques and resources did they use? How can modern artists' techniques help us understand how medieval artists applied their paints? How can modern analytic equipment help us understand both pigments and techniques? This list of links provides some good starting points for exploring these questions.

Core Resources

  • The website "Illuminated" at the Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge, UK) is your best one-stop shopping for learning what medieval artists made their colorants from, how they applied those colors, and especially how materials analysis and multispectral photography can help illuminate these questions: http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/illuminated/Note! Although the URL is right, linking from it gets you a 404 error. However, if you google "Fitzwilliam Museum Illuminated," the website should come up just fine. The internet is weird. The Fitzwilliam also has an online exhibition based upon these same investigations: http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/colour/explore/introduction.
  • The Pigments Through the Ages website allows you to investigate historical pigments by time period, pigment type, or color: http://www.webexhibits.org/pigments/intro/medieval.html
  • The Teaching Manuscripts website also is a great starter place for students interested in these questions: https://www.teachingmanuscripts.com/.

Sourcing and Creating Inks and Pigments

Medieval Techniques for Drawing, Illumination and Painting

Medieval Pigment Recipes

Understanding Materials Analysis and Multispectral Photographic Investigative Techniques

Additional articles of interest