Italian Varnish is not a picture varnish but rather a gel oil painting medium. Italian Varnish was first mentioned by Jean-François-Léonor Mérimée in his 1839 book, The art of painting in oil and in fresco, as a “strong oil prepared in Italy from a very remote period, and which possesses the double-advantage of drying well, and preventing the flowing about of the most liquid glazing.” Italian Varnish is made using linseed oil, litharge (lead monoxide), wax and a small amount of gum turpentine, ground as fine as possible. We have made it with some improvements to the method and materials given in the recipe by Mérimée. It is an amber gel medium that performs similarly to Maroger medium, except instead of mastic, this medium incorporates wax, which is ideal for those artists who prefer a thicker painting consistency and faster drying time.
Italian Varnish sets quickly, while providing translucency and body to oil colors when mixed with them in glazes. It gives a somewhat fluffy consistency to paint, making possible many different ways of using this subtle technique. In addition to the soft sheen of the medium, the artist now also has the means of more rapid execution. Artists can mix the Italian Varnish into light pigments (Lead White, Lead-Tin Yellow, Naples Yellow, Yellow Ocher, etc.) to give these colors more body and a thicker consistency. It can help to build up the lights and adds translucency and impasto for the brightest passages of a painting.
DANGER CONTAINS LEAD / CONTIENT DU PLOMB DO NOT APPLY TO SURFACES ACCESSIBLE TO CHILDREN OR PREGNANT WOMEN. NE PAS APPLIQUER SUR UNE SURFACE ACCESSIBLE AUX ENFANTS OU AUX FEMMES ENCEINTES. Must be used exclusively for the purposes of arts, crafts or hobbies but not as material for use by children.
California Proposition 65: This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.
Natural Pigments is a limited liability company based in Willits, California. We manufacture and distribute rare and hard-to-find materials for fine artists and decorators. We specialize in supplying artists' materials that were used in historical painting since pre-historic times up to and including the nineteenth century.
We constantly search for materials and products of the finest quality so that we can bring them direct to you from the source. To do so, we travel the world to find materials specifically for use by professional artists and decorators. We obtain minerals from mines in Afghanistan, Chile, Russia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan, to name a few places, processing these into natural pigments. We purchase resins, gums and plants from India, Kenya and Malaysia to make natural varnishes and painting mediums.
Our mission is to provide the largest variety of natural pigments, paints and other professional artists' supplies, enabling us to bring you a selection that makes shopping for rare and hard-to-find art materials easy. Our objective is to promote the education and use of these materials among artists by providing detailed information for their employment in encaustic, fresco, oil, watercolor and tempera painting.
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