Naples Yellow – It’s a Mellow Yellow Color
Classic Color Series
Modern Paint Brands
Modern paint brands manufacture “Naples Yellow” by combining various quantities of Titanium White, Yellow Oxide, Diarylide Yellow, and other times Chromium Titanate. A lightfast and permanent hue, Naples Yellow is opaque and rich used by both artists and designers alike!
“Naples Yellow Hue” today is synthetic iron mixed with titanium white.
“Le Champ de Ble,” Oil on Canvas, by Paula Griff McHugh
Luminosity of the Sun
Benjamin Moore’s BM 2159-50 is appropriately named “Wheatfield.” It is a “Naples Yellow” after-my-own-heart, and one that I am presently using in an overall interior wall color scheme! We can bring the luminosity of the sun inside a room!
Many Shades of Naples
There are various shades of Naples Yellow ranging from a greenish yellow to a pinkish/orange yellow. Often a range which includes Naples Yellow will also include either a Naples Yellow Deep or a Naples Yellow Light.
“Les Cocquelicots dans le Champ de Ble”, Oil on Canvas, by Paula Griff McHugh
This French farmer planted poppies in his wheat field for the sake of beauty, and for me to paint!
Radiant Outside or Inside
“Naples Yellow” makes a radiant indoor or outdoor hue. It is a perfect color with high reflectance, lightfastness and permanency ratings. (FYI – light reflectance rating is 7.4 out of 10, Lightfastness Rating is 1, and a Permanency Rating of Excellent.)
Naples Yellow weaves in and out of art and design throughout history!
Art and Design through History
If ever there was a classic color Naples Yellow would be it. By it’s pigment name, lead antimoniateis a colorant with an outstanding quality of pale warmth and luminosity. Traced back to 1400 B.C, it was found as a natural deposit in the volcanic earth of Mount Vesuvious near Pompeii, 79 AD.
The Old Masters
This pigment can also be found under the name ‘jaune d’antimoine’ and was present in the palette of the Old Masters. To which I might add, – What’s good for Van Gogh is good-to-go upon my walls. Amazing color.
“The Healing of the Cripple” fresco detail, by Masaccio 1425-27 , Cappella Brancacci frescoes
Breadth of Color
The luminosity and plasticity of oil colors replaced the use of egg, with walnut or linseed oil as media. Millet uses Naples Yellow to create the breadth of color in wheat fields!
“The Gleaners, oil painting, by Jean-François Millet, completed in 1857.
In Interior Design
Naples Yellow pigment is exquisitely absorbed into the lime plaster walls of this Tuscan Villa, c.1870. By this time the color was used extensively in interior design. Naples Yellow is a lead-based pigment, and therefore highly toxic. Due to the toxicity, this hue has been artificially made since the 15th century and the name refers to a color rather than a chemical composition.
Villa Sbertoli, Tuscany, 1870 Love that Naples Yellow!