More Than Just A Pigment - Prussian Blue
Prussian Blue was discovered accidentally and not consciously. Little did the chemist know that his discovery was going to alter the course of history of art!
The pigment of Prussian Blue deserves much more credit than it usually gets in the world of art. For the artists, it proved to be nothing less than a godsend, for it helped them create indelible works of art. That apart, the pigment found a prominent place on the world map in no time.
The story of Prussian Blue is piqued in history. In the year 1704, a Berlin Chemist by the name of Heinrich Diesbach mixed some chemicals together and voila! An all-new pigment was born. Thus, Prussian Blue was discovered accidentally and not consciously. Little did the chemist know that his discovery was going to alter the course of the history of art! The world seemed to be obsessed with the hue! It quickly became Wordsworth’s favorite color, while literary geniuses like Baudelaire showered praises upon it in their writings.
By now, Europe was obsessed with the glorious color that seemed to have immense potential. Prussian blue, especially resonated with none other than Van Gogh, who went on to produce works of art that are celebrated the world over and inspired awe of the onlookers. The color dominates his brilliant brush strokes in ‘The Starry Night’ in particular. Prussian Blue struck an immediate chord with the father of art, Picasso too, inspiring him to create art that centered on the shade. This obsession of Picasso’s with the shade came to be known as the ‘Blue Period’. Prussian Blue also made its presence felt in France. The deep blue created an impact on Rococo art, a movement quite popular in the country. The art form depicted scenes from mythology, nature and love. Antoine Watteau was among the first artists who made use of it in his paintings, such as ‘Pilgrimage to Cythera’. Other artists in the land followed suit. These included Jean-Baptiste Pater and Nicolas Lancret.
The widespread use of Prussian Blue by European artists, had inspired Japanese artist Hokusai to employ the pigment in his own art. He immortalized his imagination in the form of art works such as the series known as ‘Thirty Six Views of Mount Fuji’ and ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’. These brilliant pieces of art relied heavily on the European import and helped shape Modernism in the sphere. The hue of blue lent exquisiteness to the landscapes that the artist painted extensively on his canvas. Hokusai’s imprints were bought by Van Gogh himself!
Though a plain looking pigment, Prussian Blue revolutionized art almost throughout the world like never before by giving birth to, or redefining various movements associated with it.