Roman Black Pigment, Size: 1 Kg

SKU: NAP-481-131K
    Unit Price
    US$ 49.75
    US$ 52.25
    US$ 49.75
    US$ 52.25
    US$ 49.451%
    US$ 49.281%
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    Processing time
    Usually ships the next business day.
    Pigment type
    Inorganic, Earth, Natural

    Roman Black is a natural brownish-black earth that is a dense, opaque, heavy color that is absolutely permanent. Writers like De Mayerne mention the black earths of Rome and Venice. Roman black earth (Terra nera di Roma) is described by Salter as producing ‘the same effect as charcoal black’. It is comparatively warm to neutral in undertone, wets easily, and is non-greasy compared to carbon blacks. It is a valuable pigment when these qualities are required.

    Pigment Names
    Common Names: English: black oxide
    French: oxyde noir
    German: Oxid Schwarzes
    Italian: ossido nero
    Japanese: 酸化物黒
    Portuguese: óxido preto
    Spanish: óxido negro
    Alternate Names: English: black earth, black ocher, black ochre, black iron oxide, iron oxide
    French: fer oxydé, naturelle noir Indien
    Italian: terra nera di Roma

    Mars black is the name given to the artificial substitute of natural black oxide.

    Origin and History

    Black oxide is a recent development in modern pigments and was not often encountered in artists’ palettes before the 19th century. However, black earths that are mixtures of iron oxide, manganese oxide, and carbon have been in use since Antiquity.


    Natural black oxide is usually from an iron ore called magnetite. Magnetite, also known as lodestone, is a ferrous ferric oxide that is heavy, black, and opaque. Theoretically, black iron oxide contains slightly more iron metal than red oxide but not nearly as much as yellow oxide. The native mineral may contain varying amounts of manganese, clay, and silica.

    Permanence and Compatibility

    Natural black oxide is an absolutely permanent color for all uses on the artist’s palette. It is compatible with all other pigments and can be used with good results in all mediums.

    Oil Absorption and Grinding

    Natural black oxide absorbs a moderately low amount of oil. The oil absorption ratio is 20–25 parts by weight of linseed oil to 100 parts by weight of pigment. If the measurement were grams, it would require 20–25 grams (by weight) of linseed oil to grind 100 grams (by weight) of pigment to form a stiff paste. It makes an average drying oil paint and forms a hard, somewhat flexible film.


    Natural black oxide is not considered toxic, but care should be used in handling the dry powder pigment to avoid inhaling the dust.

    Rublev Colours Pigment: Roman Black

    Pigment Information
    Color: Black
    Colour Index: Pigment Black 11 (77499)
    Chemical Name: Iron oxide and manganese oxides from natural sources
    Chemical Formula: Fe3O4 MnO2
    ASTM Lightfastness Rating
    Acrylic: I
    Oil: I
    Watercolor: I
    Density: 5.15
    Hardness: 5.5–6.0
    Refractive Index: n=2.42
    Shipping specs
    2.2 lbs
    Shipping from
    This product is shipped from our supplier's warehouse in Willits, CA, United States
    Our guarantee
    This product is brand new and includes the manufacturer's warranty, so you can buy with confidence.
    A 25% handling charge is levied against all authorized returns except those due to our error. Unauthorized returns are subject to a 40% handling charge. Damages & defects must be reported to us within 14 days.
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