23 | JUL | 2019
Visitors observe “Vincent's Bedroom in Arles" – Photo: José Méndez/EFE

"Mexican red, the carmine cochineal in art"

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“Rojo Mexicano, La grana cochinilla en el arte”

Mexico's Museum of the Palace of Fine Arts announced it will host Rojo Mexicano, La grana cochinilla en el arte (Mexican red, the carmine cochineal in art) gathering art pieces by international masters who painted with a reddish dye extracted from a Mexican insect: the carmine cochineal.

The exhibition will be inaugurated on November 10 and it will feature art pieces by Vincent van Gogh, Diego Velázquez, Tintoretto, Peter Paul Rubens and Eugène Delacroix, among several artists, lend by museums such as the National Gallery of London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Parisian Musée d'Orsay, among others.

"It is very important that after the earthquake on September 19 foreign and Mexican institutions have agreed to lend their paintings," said Miguel Fernández Félix, Director of Museum of the Palace of Fine Arts during the presentation of the exhibition.

The exhibition will bring to Mexico for the first time the emblematic piece “Vincent's Bedroom in Arles" (1889), in which the artist used the reddish pigment of the cochineal to produce pale purples on the door and walls portraying a sense of calmness, explained art historian George Roque.

"This is not an exhibition on the color red, but rather in a very particular dye, something that had never been done before," Roque added about "Rojo Mexicano, La grana cochinilla en el arte.” The exhibition will explore the influence of red dye extracted from the grana cochinilla (Dactylopius coccus) in the textile industry and the plastic arts throughout the world.

This unique dye, which is extracted from the carminic acid produced by the females of the cochineal, is the main dye in the history of the pigments since it can be found in the artworks of great European and Mexican artists.

On Twitter, Mexico's Secretary of Culture, María Cristina García wrote in Spanish: Tintoretto, Van Gogh and Renoir used Mexican Red in their works. The carmine cochineal in art."

Dye production began in pre-Hispanic times and it became Mexico's second export, between the sixteenth and mid-nineteenth centuries.


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