By Amy Baker
Published Online (2004)
Introduction: Within the period of time formerly known as the “Dark Ages” there existed a production of numerous objects of art containing brilliant and glorious colors that illuminated the medieval mind and so deeply reflected the content they embellished. This glimmer in the medieval world owes much of its brilliance to simple elements such as clay, natural minerals and insects, common ingredients in the pigments used in the production of medieval illuminations. The pigments used in medieval manuscripts varied by geographic location, time period and materials available. This paper offers an introduction to the common medieval palette used in illuminated manuscripts before 1500. The different methods that have been utilized for the identification of these pigments will be discussed, with encouragement to further develop and research nondestructive methods of testing.