Lapis Pigment, A pigment loved by Old Masters
The outstanding works of famous artists of medieval and renaissance era have ultramarine displayed in their paintings with all its vividness. The old masters such a Giotto, Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, Titian, and Durer etc used ultramarine pigment but because of its costliness, it was often reserved for the robes of Christ and the virgin.
Theuse of such expensive pigment was surely a mark of status and distinction for the painting, increasing its price enormously.
The frescos of Giotto, the lyrical beauty of the religious painting of Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci and Raphael, and the dramatic and poetic paintings of Titian are all glowing with the energy of ultramarine pigment.
Flemish painter Jan Van Eyck working in the 15th century painted very costly portraits of his patrons as he added ultramarine in them. The 17th century Dutch master Johannes Vermeer often made lavish use of Lapis Lazuli and created superb pieces of art e.g. the kitchen maid, the woman with the water pitcher, girl with a pearl earring.
Da Vinci was required to sign a contract that stated that he must use the ultramarine for ‘thevirgin of the rock
Sponsors of Raphael and Michelangelo used lapis pigment within their commissioned compositions.
By the mid fifteenth century, the Italian master ‘Titian’ used it lavishly in his paintings especially while painting skies, sparing no expense on his paintings .They were all great artists with great painting skills who were lucky to have lapis lazuli pigment ;so they created masterpieces of Art.