"This beautiful deep rose madder colour shares little with the original colour name other than the name. The colour is cleaner, it is stronger, and it is highly lightfast, even in pale tints. The original rose madder was a special shade of natural madder that was loved by flower painters in the 19th and early 20th century. It was a fairly weak colour and faded quite rapidly. In ASTM testing it gets as low as a IV. While the pigment was not reliable the actual hue is very valuable to the artist.
Matisse Rose Madder uses a high performance quinacridone pigment for this shade that is better than the 19th century pigment in every important way. It is an intense, semi-transparent cherry red of extraordinary beauty.
Quinacridone pigments have been around only since 1958 but their many qualities mean that we are surrounded by them theses days. Quinacridone is the standard magenta in 4 colour printing. It is commonly used in plastics, automotive paints and artist paints. The name ??quinacridone?? comes from its molecular structure which is 5 rings beside each other. The various colour variations arise with varying crystalline structures as the colour is made. An interesting bit of pigment trivia is that quinacridone crystals naturally form organic semiconductors in the right conditions. The cost of quinacridone, however, means that it wont be replacing silicon in computers any time soon!
It is a colour that benefits from lateral thinking when it comes to mixing colours. Mixed with Australian Ghost Gum it produces lovely soft pinks that blend toward ivory just as colours melt together in real flowers. Mixing Matisse Rose Madder with Cobalt teal makes a delightful subdued blue and mixed with Pthalocyanine Green it makes an intense semi-transparent black that is quite different to any modern black pigment in a tube. Blacks like this were valued by the old masters. They used a variety of Ivory Black that was made from real ivory that was far more intense than the Ivory Black of today which is made from animal bones. Mixing Matisse Rose Madder with earth colours like Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, and Transparent Yellow Oxide adds warmth and subtle undertones that are valuable when painting skin.
Matisse Rose Madder is like an actor on a stage - it can play many roles from light and cheerful colours to colours of great depth and subtlety. Painters value this character playing by a pigment because the world is full of subtle colour changes that are difficult to capture.