Cinnabar - Natural Vermilion - Mount Amiata


This particular pigment is processed directly from Cinnabar sourced at Monte Amiata in Tuscany, which is shown in the picture opposite. It is an earthier version of the more highly processed Vermilion.

Given Monte Amiata's proximity to the seat of the Italian Renaissance, this is very likely to be exactly the same pigment used by Caravaggio, Raphael and Titian. To me that is pretty amazing and exciting. There is a picture of the raw cinnabar from Monte Amiata on the left. 

Its hue is orange/red with an earthy feel (a dulling of the hue) leaning more towards red than orange, with pink undertones. It has a fresh, high value in masstone, and provides the classic fleshy tints when white is added.

A relatively strong tinter with a wide range of tints available.

The source of the colour is Mercuric Sulphide and should be treated with great respect. All the best, safe studio practice should be observed.

The mix of mercury and sulphur is straight out of alchemy, with sulphur being the 'omnipresent spirit of life', a fascinating book to read around this subject is called 'What Painting Is' by James Elkins, it has a close up of a Rembrandt self portrait on the cover which would motivate anybody to paint.

This is a digression, and all that is left to say is that painting with this genuine natural Cinnabar will connect you to some of the human race's greatest triumphs in art, craft and creativity.

Technical Overview

Pigment - Cinnabar

Opacity - Opaque

Binder - Linseed Oil 




Customer Reviews

Based on 6 reviews
Peter Burns
Wonderful pigments

Extraordinary deep ruby, sanguinary pigment yet also quite translucent. You’ve reminded me I must order more! Never found anything else like it.

Enion Salt.
An earthy red.

This is a beautiful hue which leans towards a red earth while still producing those more genuine looking pinks when white is added. It’s certainly a different beast to Rublev & Harding which are more red. A great paint well worth trying if you’re a fan of genuine Vermilion.

If you use only one Vermilion for fleshtones, it should probably be this one

I am a Vermilion addict. I have tried Vermilions from Holbein, Michael Harding, East Coast Oil Colors, and Robert Doak, and none is as interesting as this natural cinnabar. Vermilion typically has a high tinting strength, high opacity, low oil absorption, and slow dry time. All of these features are advantageous in different circumstances. This natural cinnabar has a number of *different* advantages to traditional Mercuric Sulfide:
1) it is a has a weaker tinting strength, making it perfect for subtle fleshtones
2) it is more translucent than opaque, meaning it can scumble over a brown shadow and make a *pink shadow* – think about that
3) it is a faster dryer than other vermilions, usually 1-2 days – I do not know chemically why this would be
4) it is a slightly duller but absolutely unique red – closer in color to a strawberry than to a race car

A few years ago I heard a rumor from a conservationist who heard at Cornellisen that there were only a dozen or so tubes of this paint left. I took a deep breath and immediately bought three more which should hold me over for a few years. Thankfully this shortage did not come to pass, but I am using this anecdote to illustrate the unmatched usefulness of this color on a flesh palette. It was the missing color in the attached image – I glazed and scumbled it over warm green-grey shadows and it added a kind of glow to the darkness. The effects you can achieve with this specific tube of paint are probably impossible to replicate otherwise.

Beverley Drew

Well designed website, prompt delivery, which was perfectly packed and a fabulous product.

Igor David
theres no other one like this :D

As I personaly like the "old masters" and theirs techniques I tend to use the most possible genuine materials. Of course there are brilliant colours of cadmiums, but its just not the same. I have both Hardings and Seymours and I like them both. I tend to use Harding on more Rembrandt-barock paintings and Seymour on renaissance paintings.


I am very glad "the supreme paint co." exists. I can't find some of the rublev products anywhere else. The balsam medium is a marvel. I've been looking for a medium of this quality for a long time. Delivery is fast.

Continue shopping
Your Order

You have no items in your cart