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Book: The Alchemy of Paint

Chapter: Preface

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.45917


This book introduces dyes, pigments and metals as items of importance outside the artists’ workshop and then explores a few from the point of view of the artists who used them, starting with the story of a stone from beyond the centre of the earth. It looks at a chemical marriage that echoes a mystic marriage, stories about the influence of heaven, mortal combats and the quest for gold. It will explain how colour was ‘read’ in the middle ages, returning to materials to look at the hidden meaning of the artists’ version of the Philosophers’ Stone. Following the wisdom of the ancients, the penultimate chapter explores the potentially life-changing secret that artists and alchemists saw hidden in gold.

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