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Lapis Lazuli at The Book of Kells Exhibition of Trinity College

Good news for our readers who are interested in colours! Now, you have a chance to see Lapis Lazuli at The Book of Kells Exhibition of Trinity College because it is assumed that Lapis Lazuli was used in the manuscript of the Books of Kells.

Lapis Lazuli at the Book of Kells Exhibition of Trinity College, Credit by Zeynep Alparslan

What is Lapis Lazuli? Lapis Lazuli is a special and very valuable stone which gives blue its pigment. It is also called “Ultramarine Stone”.  6000 years ago, specifically, that magnificent stone became a subject of great attention for the artists and merchants who lived in Venezia. It was very hard to attain Lapis Lazuli because it was found around Afghan mountains. Therefore, bringing that stone to Venezia took a lot of effort. That is why it was the most expensive colour in that time.

In Venezia, a chemist had an experiment on Lapis Lazuli and accomplished to obtain blue colour which contained high pigment. In fact, before that, Egyptians had tried to obtain the colour from that stone, but they had not been able to achieve success. The colour that they obtained was more like grey instead of Lapis Lazuli’s vivid deep blue.

Lapis Lazuli, Image: David Hopkinson/

Then, that marvellous colour became popular in Western art, and in the iconographic paintings and ceiling paintings of some cathedrals; nobility, sanctity, heaven, and eternity were depicted by the blue colour. That gave blue its symbolic meaning.

There were so many artists who were obsessed with blue colour: Giotto, Titian, Van Gogh, Klein, and so on.  

Titian,Bacchus ve Ariadne (1520-1523 )
Image: Martin Beek/

If you are interested in colours, it is highly recommended for you to see Lapis Lazuli at the Book of Kells exhibition!

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