On the fineness of grinding pigments

I recently read on the website of the "Shop for Icon Painters" a remark about imported pigments. In particular, the pigments of the Kremer company. In this remark, the authors of the text argue that the main advantage of imported pigments over domestic ones lies in the finer grinding of the former. Pretty dubious claim. Suffice it to say that many buyers consciously buy pigments with a coarser grind, and sometimes just in the form of a coarse material or even in the form of samples of minerals. And there are reasons for this. There are several. For most artists, it is known that the color tone of some pigments is directly related to the degree of their grinding. First of all, this applies to cinnabar, lapis lazuli, azurite, malachite and dioptase. Consequently, having at his disposal the material initially somewhat coarser, the artist himself can bring the pigment to the required state with the help of a chime, or use the pigment as it is. But it's not only that. As A.N. Ovchinnikov: “If we compare the structure and optical properties of the pigments used in modern painting under a microscope with the mineral pigments of ancient icon painters, the difference becomes obvious. The composition of the pigments used by ancient artists necessarily included pigments consisting of transparent colored crystals - cinnabar, orpiment, lapis lazuli, etc., which have a shiny glassy surface that actively reflects light. If in the first case the artist is satisfied with the external interconnection of pigments, i.e. color coincidence with natural phenomena or decorative combinations, then in icon painting in the selection of pigment ratios one can see a mystical understanding of the elements that make up the color of painting, the desire to designate the elements of the universe with each mineral - fire, water, earth and air. From myself, as a mineralogist in my main specialty, I can add that only a mineral with an undestroyed crystal lattice, i.e. not turned into such a fashionable now nanoparticle, is capable of creating optical effects that are so necessary in painting. In addition to all of the above, there is another equally important problem, which is no longer related to art, but to the economy. It is no secret that foreign manufacturers of pigments have been producing synthetic pigments under the guise of natural pigments for a long time. We often see that under some well-known pigment name, “imitation” is written in small print at the bottom. But sometimes they don't even write that. I recently studied cinnabar, supplied to our country by the ZEHHI company. The label says natural cinnabar, but some of this cinnabar is light, like ocher. Real cinnabar, as you know, is a very weighty mineral. This is strange. And on the label with the pigment produced by the company "Ferrario" I found a very funny text. On this label it was written: a pigment containing natural ingredients. Just like on modern confectionery and gastronomic products. It is not for nothing that some artists often prefer to buy minerals in samples. Just afraid of fakes. And you, dear readers, be vigilant and don't be fooled. Good luck to you.

A.V. Grigoriev