Academic thesis

Carolin Rötter: Orpiment: terminology, propertys, natural deposits, artificial production, durability, utilisation, history - including Realgar Back
Language: Original   -   Translation
Abstract: The use of the yellow to yellow-orange pigment orpiment, an arsenic sulfide, can be traced to antiquity. Before discussing this pigment, it is essential to define the mineral to establish its particular properties. A study of the history of this pigment requires to research its use and its terminology over the centuries. Quite early, attempts were made to produce this costly pigment artificially. The present investigation also includes the closely related realgar. In order to provide a comprehensive as possible picture of this pigment, numerous sources were consulted including current scientific literature (mineralogy, chemistry, restoration, art technology, etc.). Evaluation of written sources and laboratory tests are supplemented with interviews and consultation with museums and related institutions in order to acquire "experience? with orpiment and to gather objects bearing orpiment and realgar. In providing a relatively dense picture, this collection permits pinpointing historical "concentrations? of use and helps understand aging and damage phenomena. Moreover, it allows studying typical techniques and mixtures of the pigment as well as detecting incompatibility with other pigments or binders. In addition to this, own experiments were conducted, for example testing a historical method of using heat to prepare orpiment. The product obtained was so-called burnt orpiment, which no longer was yellow but orange. It was subjected to various tests and analyses in order to be able to define the product more closely and to be able to differentiate between it and natural orpiment. Furthermore, it was tested with different binders.


Keywords: mineral, arsenic sulfide, arsenic oxide, pararealgar, pigment research, alternative product, fish gall, chalk, vinegar
  • academic institution: Technische Universität München
  • kind of theses:  Diplomarbeit
  • main Tutor:  Prof. Dipl.-Restaurator Erwin Emmerling
  • assistant Tutor:  Dr. Günter Grundmann
  • date:  2002
  • pages:  98
Auszüge in: Restauro, Ausgabe 6, 2003, S. 408-413
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