Thursday, July 15, 2010

Indigo Fading

“Bridge With Mountains” is a watercolor from J.M.W. Turner’s Cyfarthfa sketchbook.

It was on exhibition until 1905, when someone noticed that everything but the part covered by the frame had turned brown.

What happened to the blue? The same indigo that dyes blue jeans was used as a pigment, and it either faded or shifted under strong light.
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from Turner's Early Sketchbooks, by Gerald Wilkinson

7 comments:

Charles Valsechi III said...

Sad, I love his work. Thanks for the link.

etc, etc said...

I think it would behoove collectors, palazzi, museums, etc. to archive the current state of all artworks with high megapixel digital photography.

Mary Bullock said...

Brown looks nice too.

Smurfswacker said...

Makes you wonder how many classic paintings started out with completely different color schemes but were ravaged by time. Reminds me of the old "tobacco juice" color schemes based upon dirty, timeworn old master paintings.

Tyler J said...

I just tried doing some color adjustments in Photoshop with this image. It was rather difficult. I could match the prominent land mass in the middle fairly well, but the sky would look wrong. Or I could get the shadows of the clouds pretty close, but the light clouds would be off.

Color is rough =)

Marianne said...

It's nice to know that the paint we use now has been tested to be light proof!

jaylake said...

Speaking of indigo, did you see this article on Maya blue and color fastness?

http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/25448/