Roman Black Earth gets its black from minerals, iron oxides, and carbon. The high iron content means this is a fast drying paint. Black earth pigments have been in use in Italy from ancient times to the present. The pigment in this colour is actually mined in Verona Italy, and has been documented at least since the 15th century – black mineral pigments in general have been mined all over Italy since ancient times. Roman Black Earth is made with walnut oil and pigment from Italy – no stabilizers, solvents, fillers or stearates are used.
Here are a few historic citations regarding the use of Black Earth…..
Pliny the Elder – 2nd c. C.E.- Roman Author. “It is possible to obtain a black pigment from the earth.”
Cennino Cennini – 15th c. C.E. – Italian painter and author of Il libro dell’arte. “Black is a black stone, soft and the color is fat; I found a stone coming from Piedmont good to draw.”
Giorgio Vasari – 16th c. C.E. – Italian painter and author of Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects. “A black earth called ‘terretta’ (soft earth) which can be used a fresco painting is reported.