Copper in the Arts

Fact 7 of 9

Copper-based pigments were an important ingredient in ancient paints, and the metal itself was frequently employed as a "canvas" on which Renaissance artists painted. Copper also served as an engraving plate for etchings and prints by master artists such as Rembrandt. As an ingredient in paint, natural copper ores such as azurite (blue) and malachite (green), add a depth and dimensionality to paintings that cannot be duplicated by man-made substitutes. As for copper's use as a canvas, there was virtually nothing else available to artists in pre-technological times that approached its smoothness and durability.