Probably you would not include being an artist among high-risk jobs. But it used to be. At least if we take a close look at painters’ palette: lead white, vermilion, Scheele’s green, chrome yellow, Naples yellow and many others. These pigments include toxic elements such as lead, chromium, arsenic, mercury or antimony that can cause severe diseases.
In this talk, we will explore the palette of old masters such as Titian, Greco or Vermeer. We will also learn the chemical composition of the poisonous pigments used to create some of the most famous paintings in the world: Sunflowers, Girl with a pearl earring, The Scream. Masterpieces of art history that are also interesting from a toxicological point of view. In this aspect, we will see some of the most relevant poisoning cases that might be attributed to artistic materials, including those of Van Gogh and Goya.
There is no doubt that pigments are beautiful, but they can be dangerous too.
Speakers: Oskar Gonzalez Mendia (Chemist) & Christiane Hudon (Montreal Museum of Fine Arts guide).