Yellow Oxide  | Matisse acrylic paint

    Chemical Description: Synthetic hydrated iron oxide

    Pigment Number: PY42

    Lightfastness Rating: ASTM I

    Pigment Opacity: Opaque

    Paint Opacity: Semi-transparent

    Series 1


    Yellow Oxide  | Matisse acrylic paint

    Ancient Echoes: A Palette of Ochre


    Yellow Oxide, also known as yellow ochre, traces its roots back 30,000 years, finding a place in the artist's toolkit alongside red ochre. While evidence suggests the use of red ochre up to 60,000 years ago, the specific timing of yellow ochre's artistic debut remains elusive. Stone age cultures, like those in the Amazon and the mountains of New Guinea, utilized ochre as wet clay for body decoration. Fossil evidence is scarce, leaving the inception of human art shrouded in mystery. What we do know is that for the first 5,000 years, the palette consisted of red, yellow, brown, white ochres, and black soot.


    Ochre Unveiled: A Chromatic Revelation


    Originally applied to yellow earths, ochre derives its name from the ancient Greek word "ochros," meaning yellow. For millennia, ochre retained its significance, becoming a cornerstone on the artist's palette. If artists were limited to one yellow, ochre would be the choice due to its versatility. While it lacks the vibrancy of Cadmium Yellow Medium, it excels in capturing the earthy yellows abundant in nature, making it indispensable for both figure and landscape artists.


    Mars Colours and Synthetic Brilliance


    Before the mid-19th century, natural earth served as the sole source of ochre. The advent of synthetic iron oxides, collectively named Mars colours, marked a revolution. Yellow Oxide, initially referred to as Mars yellow, surpassed its natural counterpart for two reasons. Natural ochre's colour variations and impurities made consistency challenging for manufacturers. The synthetic Yellow Oxide, purer and more yellow, earned preference among artists. Matisse rightly labels its product as "oxide," avoiding confusion caused by some manufacturers using the old ochre name for synthetic versions.


    Yellow Oxide in Figure and Landscape Art


    Yellow Oxide finds prominence in figure painting, forming mixtures with Titanium White and Matisse Scarlet to create nuanced skin tones reminiscent of the old masters. In landscape painting, it serves as a cornerstone for browns and earthy colours. When mixed with blues, it produces natural-looking greens. Lightening it with Naples Yellow Light yields creamy hues, while a dash of Cadmium Yellow Medium brings forth golden yellows akin to Van Gogh's palette. From olive greens with Cobalt Blue to tropical turquoises with Cobalt Teal, Yellow Oxide unlocks a spectrum of possibilities. In essence, a colour rooted in ancient history continues to breathe life into contemporary palettes, offering a timeless freshness appreciated by modern artists.

    Safety Data Sheet for Matisse Yellow Oxide (SDS)

    To view or download a copy of Yellow Oxide SDS, please  CLICK HERE * (271kb)  
    *The above link will open an external Dropbox window 

    Yellow Oxide is available in Matisse Structure, Matisse Flow,

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