Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Caput Mortuum for Spring: Maple Twigs and Raspberries
The actual pigment that is called caput mortuum is a hematite iron oxide, iron oxide being a residue of oxidation. It was called caput mortuum as were other residues of alchemy that were seen as useless. Caput mortuum was a popular pigment in the 16th and 17th centuries to use in painting the robes of religious figures. It was also sometimes made from ground up mummies, perhaps another reason for the death's head reference in the name.
Today's drawings are of some caput mortuum colored red maple twigs, raspberry canes, cyclamen, and peony shoots, all labeled to identify their parts.