Ochre pigments (left shelves) and a selection of paint additives and resins (right shelves)

Credit: Ochre pigments and paint additives and resins at Cornelison and Sons, London by Heather C. McCune Bruhn, 2014., licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Resource Description

Ochre, which is essentially rust (iron oxide), is humankind's first pigment, and one of the most plentiful sources of color on earth. Ranging from red to orange, yellow, brown and even violet depending on trace minerals and moisture levels, it is extremely stable and fairly non-reactive. It can be prepared very easily (colored rocks and soil can be crushed, washed, and mixed with a binder to make paint), and was first used by humankind around 100,000 years ago. It is still in use today. This module introduces ochre pigment and explores its use in three case studies: Blombos Cave in South Africa, in Italian Renaissance frescoes, and in environmental cleanup.

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: Ochre

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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