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A Brief History of Black Pigment

Black pigment is so ubiquitous in art that artists often don’t give it a second thought. We write with it, sketch with it, and use it to create shadow, volume, and atmosphere in paintings and drawings both realistic and abstract -- but rarely do we examine the symbolic or historic concepts that we might be reinforcing or defying with our use of it.


A photograph of black pigment in cave paintings dating back tens of thousands of yearsA detail of charcoal paintings in a cave in southwest France, estimated to be around…

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