A big rock with pieces of Lapis Lazuli embedded in it.

Credit: Lapis Lazuli by Heather McCune Bruhn, Penn State University, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Resource Description

Lapis lazuli is a bright blue semiprecious stone, first known only in remote mountains in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and more recently in Brazil. This module explores lapis lazuli's use first in the production of high status objects in the Ancient world (Ancient Near East, Rome, etc.) and then its use as an expensive blue paint pigment. Since the process for extracting ultramarine blue pigment from lapis lazuli is so long and labor intensive, true ultramarine is still one of the most expensive pigments in the world. You will be able to read about and watch videos detailing the ultramarine extraction process, as well as the production and use of some alternatives to ultramarine blue.

This resource is part of the following program: Redesigning Modernities.

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CC BY-NC 4.0

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You can download the resource files here: Lapis Lazuli

Dr. McCune Bruhn is an Assistant Teaching Professor. An artist and teacher from a family of artists and teachers, she earned BFAs in both Printmaking and Art History from Virginia Commonwealth University (1993) before coming to Penn State for her MA (1997) and Ph.D. (2006) in Art History. Her Fulbright-funded thesis research in Germany on Late Gothic monstrances addressed issues of patronage and value, materials and methods, and liturgical function. She addresses similar themes in her teaching, both in basic surveys and in her specialty, medieval art. Her current research into materials and techniques reflects her background as a practicing artist and her ongoing investigation into materials, methods, and workshop practice. In 2006, Dr.

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