Monday, 13 October 2014

Cadmium Yellow Light



Vincent without cadmium is like.... well, the reason why his Sun Flowers were almost bursting with magic a couple of decades ago and now are withering on their canvas.

Cadmium was discovered in 1817 and it is presumed it may have been used as early as 1830 in artists' paints. It was one of many new heavy metals being applied in the synthetic paints which saw the light in the first half of the 19th century and reading the old scripts on testing how much to use of each and what not to use again is better than a crime novel.

Per Marquard Otzen, detail of Cadmium Yellow Light
Particularly the latter ones. Such as Asphalt which sadly Delacroix had already put to much use in great and masterful works since it gave a certain depth to its color until after a few years the Asphalt began eating of the other ingredients.

There has been much eating, bleeding and fading of colors in the history of paintings; triumphs of new inventions that had forgotten to take the life-span of a painting into the equation. Artwork into Firework, flaying up and burning out, as the result.

Per Marquard Otzen, October 13, 2014.
Man skal høre meget... før ørerne falder af: 

Svenskerne vil forbyde skrappe farver à la Van Gogh i nutidens malerkunst. 
Det er noget med kadmium i tuberne/
Well, what you have to hear ... your ears may fall off:
The Swedes will ban strong colors à la Van Gogh in painting of today.
It has something to do with Cadmium in the tubes.

And now the EU is preparing a ban on Cadmium as an ingredient in artist' paint. It is not the first heavy metal to be eliminated, and it will soon be followed by many more. And yes, Sweden is once again on the forefront, having discussed the pros and cons of a ban for at least a year in the media now.
My Mother used Cadmium Yellow Light too.
The examples shown are typical,
the Lights are the nearly empty ones.

Will it be possible to find new ingredients as visually forceful as the old ones? And is art not supposed to be at least just a little bit forbidden?

One of the first words I knew myself was Chromoxidhydrate Green. Possibly spelled wrongly, it is a verbal word to me. My Mother would drill us in the names of her paints; a sort of lesson in our first Latin.

I always thought Chromoxidhydrate Green was the most dangerous of them all. That an empty tube could poison an entire river. But that is Chrome Green as it turns out. Which we have too, all of them them relics now in memory of my Mother.

So, I am no impartial judge. I love the smell of them to bits, however poisonous. But I know too that even cleaning the brushes ought to take place in a secure laboratory.

The Cadmiums and their colleagues have only been in use for 200 years and it is time to be as creative as in the 1820s. Just look at Van Gogh in the hands of Per Marquard Otzen, who has drawn the eyes of the former at once burning and burned out by adding more interest to the scroll-like shadow on his forehead.


The cartoon was made without the use of poisonous substances. It is courtesy of Per Marquard Otzen and must not be reproduced without his permission.


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