Alizarin Crimson 50ml

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A translucent bluish red with high tinting strength, fine-grained and a 'short' buttery paint. Learn more.

Rublev Colours Alizarin Crimson is ground in linseed oil without the use of stearates or other additives that affect the behavior of the pigment in oil. The pale linseed oil used to make this color is well-aged and refined to provide higher levels of reactivity and oxidation than raw oil. The consistency is a smooth, thick, rich color that is 'short' and buttery.

Color Information
Single Pigment:Alizarin
Binder:Linseed Oil
Pigment Information
Color:Bluish Red
Colour Index:Pigment Red 83 (58000)
Chemical Name:Anthraquinone: 1,2-dihydroxyanthraquinone lake
Chemical Formula:C14H8O4
Tinting Strength:High
Drying rate:Slow
Permanence:B - 5, 6
ASTM Lightfastness:III
Health and Safety:Based on the toxicological review, there are no acute or known chronic health hazards with the anticipated use of this product. Always protect yourself against potentially unknown chronic hazards of this and other chemical products by avoiding ingestion, excessive skin contact, and inhalation of spraying mists, sanding dust, and concentrated vapors. Contact us for further information or consult the SDS for more information.


For a detailed explanation of the terms in the table above, please visit Composition and Permanence.


Some separation of pigment and oil may occur in Rublev Colours Artist Oils and is a natural process when no wax or stabilizers are added to paint to prevent this from occurring.

All images of color swatches on this website are only approximations of the actual color of the oil paint. We have taken every care to match the color in these pictures on calibrated color monitors to the actual color. However, because of the wide variance in color monitors, the results you get may vary.

Color Swatch Note: The color swatch was created with a thick application (left side) of color and a tint (right side) made with equal parts of color and titanium white and applied on acrylic primed cotton canvas.

Drawdown Note: The image of the "drawdown" contains a pre-mixed paint film of 6 mils (0.006 inches) thickness applied to a standard test card for the purposes of examining color consistency, opacity and other qualities. The drawdowns show the color full strength (mass tone), on the left, and mixed in a 1:2 ratio with titanium white on the right. The bottom area of the drawdowns is scraped to show undertones.

Color Names
Common Names:English: alizarin
French: alizarine
German: Alizarin
Italian: alizarina
Portuguese: alizarina
Russian: ализарин
Spanish: alizarina
Alternate Names:The following names are given to the natural analog of the colorant in artificial alizarin:
English: madder lake
French: laque de garance
German: Krapplack
Italian: lacca di robbia
Portuguese: laca de ruvia
Russian: крапплак
Spanish: laca de rubia

Notes About Lightfastness

Although assigned to lightfastness category III (ASTM D 4302), alizarin crimson may be considered as a permanent color under certain conditions. Franz Hals was well aware of the correct way in which to use fugitive lakes in order to produce vivid flesh tints. The ruddy noses and rosy cheeks portrayed by him which after a lapse of centuries have shown that this color, when intelligently used, is stable. According to Maximilian Toch (Toch, 1911), if madder lake (the natural lake pigment related to alizarin) is used as a glaze over a color that has been allowed to dry thoroughly, it will remain permanent, but if mixed with any mineral pigment, such as ocher, lead, sienna, etc., it is altered and loses color. This Toch based on his observation of Rembrandt's use of color in works like the Anatomy Lesson, in which 'upon close examination, the flesh tones have suffered very likely due to the fact that the lake used in glazing was mixed with the under-coat.'

Based on this observation, Toch makes this recommendation for alizarin reds:

It is, therefore, reasonable to assume that alizarin or madder lakes should be used as glazing colors over a properly dried surface. Alizarin or madder lakes will not decompose when mixed with various blacks such as bone black, lamp black, and carbon black.

Madder lake may be mixed with oxide of iron color which has been burnt, but may not be mixed with any raw iron color. For instance, madder or alizarin may be mixed with Indian red, forming a color known as Tuscan red, which is perfectly permanent. It may also be mixed with burnt sienna, burnt ocher, burnt umber, etc., but is fugitive when mixed with raw ochre, raw sienna or raw umber. The chemical colors like flake white (white lead), zinc oxide, chrome yellow, Naples yellow, and chrome greens all bleach it, but colors like quick silver, vermilion, cadmium yellow, and all of the blacks do not affect it.

The safest way in which to use it is as a glaze over a ground that is thoroughly dry. Madder lake deepens considerably when placed in a dark place, but is revived when subjected to bright sunlight.

Vermeer more than once placed a glaze of lake pigment (carmine lake) over vermilion. He first modeled the object to be represented in various tones of vermilion using white to lighten the tone and black to darken them. Once the area was dry he glazed over it with a red lake.

The recommendation with raw iron oxide pigments and the mention of bleaching with "chemical colors" requires further investigation because other authors have made contrary claims.

Maximilian Toch, Materials for Permanent Painting, New York: D. Van Nostrand Company, 1911. pp. 85–87.

More Information
BrandRublev Colours
VendorRublev Colours
Processing TimeUsually ships the next business day.
Size50 ml

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Alizarin Crimson 50ml
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