Spotlight on terre verte

Although derived from a mineral source, terre verte is not a natural iron oxide pigment, but an iron silicate with clay. Originally a natural earth, the most famous terre verte was mined near Verona in Italy until 1940, giving rise to the name Verona green. Other sources include Bohemia, Poland and France. In its original form it is considered an organic pigment which can produce a range from blue-green to yellow-green.

Winsor & Newton Terre Verte is now a combination of natural earths and synthetic pigments. Extremely transparent, it has a low tinting strength and is fairly absorbent of oil. As a complementary colour to reddish pinks, terre verte was most famously used as under-painting for flesh tones, acting to neutralise them. This can be seen from the green faces in some medieval egg tempera paintings, where over time the reddish-pink layers have faded.

Earth pigments, and particularly terre verte (green earth) colours, are among the most permanent.