Originally made from the Lapis Lazuli mineral (which if you prefer we sell two versions of, here and here), Vermeer loved it and so have the majority of painters through history! However in the 1820's, through the use of chemistry it became possible to produce reliable and consistent synthetic pigments and dyes this was one of the first on the list, the ultramarine.
This hue is achieved when slightly altering the manufacture of the blue shade, Sodium Sulphosilicate, by heating it with Chloride. The result is a weaker, more violet pigment which has low tint power and a degree of transparency that lends itself to being exploited in glazes or thin bodycolour. In hues it becomes a high keyed, rather fluffy mauve which landscape painters have found apposite for the brighter tones of clear skies and for the modelling of sunlit clouds.
Average Drying. Transparent. Excellent Lightfastness. Average Oil Content.