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Book: The Alchemy of Paint

Chapter: Vermilion: Towards the Philosophers' Stone

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.45920


Like ultramarine, artists held vermilion in extraordinarily high esteem, but it did not have exotic geographic origins, it was not a sought-after medicine, nor was it very expensive. The reason it was valued is found in a particular variation on the theme of four elements. The previous chapter showed how the theory explained the physical separation of lapis. This chapter will see it provide the foundation for an alchemical union.

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