LAS MADRES CARMESÍ

DAY 11 11 September 2018

 Piero della Francesca (1416/17 - 1492). The Duke and Duchess of Urbino Federico da Montefeltro and Battista Sforza (detail), 1473-75. Oil on wood. Florence: The Uffizi, Inv. 1890 nn. 1615, 3342. Source: The Uffizi

Piero della Francesca (1416/17 - 1492). The Duke and Duchess of Urbino Federico da Montefeltro and Battista Sforza (detail), 1473-75. Oil on wood. Florence: The Uffizi, Inv. 1890 nn. 1615, 3342. Source: The Uffizi

Crimson is a very old colour. Jars of Kermes have been found in Neolithic cave-burials and throughout the ancient Mediterranean Middle East where the Kermes Oak is indigenous.

The word "kermes" is derived from the Sanskrit krmi-ja (worm+beget), Persian 'qirmiz’ or Spanish ‘carmes’(carmine’).

The dye is prepared from the dried bodies of pregnant females scale insects (Kermes echinatus).

 Madre Carmesí 1. Mono-print on paper.

Madre Carmesí 1. Mono-print on paper.

By the European Middle Ages, crimson cloth dyed with kermes exceeded the prestige of Tyrian Purple “in status and desirability” in the silk-weaving centers of Italy and Spain. Crimson became the colour of kings, cardinals and popes.

 Madre Carmesí 2. Mono-print on paper.

Madre Carmesí 2. Mono-print on paper.

Following the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire (1519–21) Mexican cochineal, which produces a more intense red dye replaced kermes in Europe.

 Madre Carmesí 3. Mono-print on paper.

Madre Carmesí 3. Mono-print on paper.

 Madre Carmesí 4. Mono-print on paper.

Madre Carmesí 4. Mono-print on paper.