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words and concepts

.week. 1. 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . 6

7 . 9 .10 .11 .12

painting analysis

periodic tables








































































week 1 & 2
a metallic solid
packing structure
face centered cubic (fcc)
atomic structure
Bohr atom
Group 1 (in periodic table)
a molecular solid
Conceptual questions ---

--- which pigments had prehistoric use?

--- which ancient culture did the most development of pigment and dyes? ?

--- what are two examples of ancient pigments that were synthetic ?

--- what are two examples of ancient pigments that were 'natural' ?

--- what are the four colors that should be used by "any sober-minded painter", according to Pliny?

--- give one explanation for this greek ideal of fours colors.

--- how is the periodic table arranged, both left to right, and top to bottom?

--- which metal packing structure causes the greatest malleability and why?

--- how does the packing structure of copper differ from the solid structure of sulfur?

--- what is the form of copper in the patina? (think back to making the copper metal patinas in studiolab last week and what they looked like. )

--- which sub-stomic particle—protons, neutrons, electrons—most determines the behavior of an element ?

--- what is meant by the Bohr Structure of the atom?

--- how does the Bohr model help predict the behavior of an element?

weeks 3 - 5
a salt
a sulfur molecule, S8
redox reaction
ion exchange
galena - (PbS)
cinnabar - (HgS)
stibnite -(Sb2S3)
realgar (As3S4) & orpiment (As2S3)
Conceptual questions ---

--- what is the chemical formula of the tarnish on copper metal?

--- what form of copper is assoiated with the blue or blue-green colors of verdigris?

--- does oxygen prefer to become oxidized or reduced? what new oxygen species is formed?

--- what is the chemical name of the copper compound that is the pigment verdigris?

--- what is the connection between vinegar and the pigment verdigris? --- can you describe this connection in chemical terms?

--- what is the transition metal in the pigment prussian blue?

--- what is the chromophore in the pigment viridian?


--- which metal is isolated from cinnabar? from stibnite? from galena?

--- which metals can be mined directly from the earth?

--- which element (that you have seen and worked with) can be both oxidized and reduced?

--- which metal, copper or zinc, is highly reactive in acid?

week 6 -7
ion exchange
pit lime
Conceptual questions ---

--- what are the characteristics of an acid/base reaction?

--- how is an acid/base reaction similar to a redox reaction?

--- what are the major sources of fresco deterioration?

--- what is the main reason for the darkening of frescos and paintings?

--- give three common names for a material whose chemical composition is CaCO3

--- how does a fresco cure?

--- what are the reactions that convert limestone into quick lime and pit lime and then fresco?

( or, what is the "rock to rock" sequence?)

--- what are the chemical formulas for these pigments?

  • cinnabar, verdigris, lead white, orpiment, vermilion, viridian, chrome yellow


week 9
drying oil
gum arabic
Conceptual questions ---

--- what changes happen when an oil paint dries?

--- what changes accompanied the use of oil as a pigment binder?

--- what is the main purpose of gum arabic and honey or sugar in watercolor?

week 9-10
Conceptual questions ---

--- what is the evolution of elements and which elements were important in pigments?

--- what are the characterisitics of an ionic bond?

--- what are the characterisitics of a covalent bond?

--- what are the new elements from mid 1700-1800's?

--- what are the new pigments from mid 1700-1800's?

--- what is the story of Perkin's Purple? and how does it relate to chemistry?

--- what are some of the compounds in coal tar?

--- how does the palette of the Pre-Raphaelites compare to that of the Renaissance artists?

--- who are the colormen?

week 11
additive color mixing
subtractive mixing
white light diffraction
Conceptual questions ---

--- Which type of color mixing occurs in each case below?

(a) red + green = yellow - additive
(b) blue + yellow = green - subtractive
(c) blue + red-orange = pink - additive
(d) RGB video screens - additive
(e) Renaissance painting - subtractive
(f) pointillist painting - additive
(g) theatrical lighting for a play or a production - additive
(h) 4-color commercial printing - subtractive

--- Give examples of the following concepts:

(a) a non-spectral hue - magenta
(b) 2 metameric colors: pink ~pale orange ~pale red+pale blue+pale orange

--- Additive complementary colors add to give - white
and one example is: - blue + yellow = white
--- Subtractive complementary colors add to give - black
and one example is: - red + green = black

week 12
index of refraction
polarized light
crossed polarizers
Conceptual questions ---

--- what is the fundamental reason why diffrerent materials have different indexes if refraction?

--- give two reasons why a varnish layer produces deeper and more saturated colors

--- the test of a pigment sample with acid is positive for which pigments?

--- how can prussian blue be detected?

--- how can cobalt blue and ultramarine be distinguished?

--- how can viridian and malachite be distinguished?

--- how can lead white and zinc white be distinguished?

What pigments were in the painting? click here to see


If you have any comments or would like additional information, please contact Sharon Burgmayer at sburgmay@brynmawr.edu.

Teachers are encouraged to copy and modify these labs for use in their teaching.

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© 2003 - by Dr. Sharon Burgmayer and Serendip.