Week 4 – Investigating Indian Yellow

Apr 10, 2020

Welcome back, everyone! I continued my research this week with a very similar process as last week, just with a new color. Once again, I was looking for the title, artist, pigment use, date of creation, and location of creation.

As the name may suggest, the Indian yellow pigment was primarily made and used in India. The pigment comes from the evaporated urine of cows exclusively fed mango leaves — definitely an unusual process. The first occurrences of its use appeared in the 15th century, but it eventually spread to Europe in the late 18th century. It was initially mostly used by Dutch artists, but gradually spread, primarily used in watercolors. It also appears in the work of one famous post-impressionist painter — The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh.

Indian yellow’s unusual manufacturing process eventually became a cause of concern and in the late 19th century, its production was band, declaring its creation to include animal abuse. Production of the pigment did not fully cease until 1921 and is no longer available today. While you cannot purchase actual Indian yellow, there are many modern synthetic pigments that are sold under that name.

I had a bit of trouble with my research this week. I found significantly less specific occurrences of Indian yellow being used in paintings. I still have enough to continue with this pigment, but the map will not be as populated as chrome yellow. On the bright side, while searching for sources on the use of Indian yellow, I found some sources for the other three pigments, so I have a head start with those. Next week, I will be continuing this process with lead-tin yellow. Until then!

2 Replies to “Week 4 – Investigating Indian Yellow”

  1. Alan Y. says:

    Nice progress! I look forward to seeing the final maps!

  2. Charles T. says:

    Indian yellow is a vibrant color. I had never heard of the shade until reading your blog, thanks!

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