Ultramarine

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Ultramarine is a blue pigment consisting primarily of a double silicate of aluminium and sodium with some sulfides or sulfates, and occurring in nature as a proximate component of lapis lazuli. In the past, it has also been known as azzurrum ultramarine, azzurrum transmarinum, azzuro oltramarino, azur d'Acre, pierre d'azur, Lazurstein. Current terminology for ultramarine include natural ultramarine (English), outremer lapis (French), Ultramarin echt (German), oltremare genuino (Italian), and ultramarino verdadero (Spanish). The pigment color code is P. Blue 29 77007. Ultramarine is the most complex of the mineral pigments, a complex sulfur-containing sodio-silicate (Na8-10Al6Si6O24S2-4), essentially a mineralized limestone containing a blue cubic mineral called lazurite (the major component in lapis lazuli). Some chloride is often present in the crystal lattice as well. The blue color of the pigment is due to the S3 radical anion, which contains an unpaired electron.

Contents

Etymology

The name derives from Middle Latin ultramarinus, literally "beyond the sea" because it was imported from Asia by sea.[1]

The first recorded use of ultramarine as a color name in English was in 1598.[2]

Uses

The first noted use of lapis lazuli as a pigment can be seen in the 6th- and 7th-century AD cave paintings in Afghanistani Zoroastrian and Buddhist temples, near the most famous source of the mineral. Lapis lazuli has also been identified in Chinese paintings from the 10th and 11th centuries, in Indian mural paintings from the 11th, 12th, and 17th centuries, and on Anglo-Saxon and Norman illuminated manuscripts from c.1100.

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