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Caput mortuum ( caput mortum or caput mortem) conocido también como Cardinal purple es el nombre dado a una variedad de pigmento de óxido de hierro hematita, usado en las pinturas al óleo, sobre todo para las ropas de los cardenales.

The name for this pigment may have come from the alchemical usage, since iron oxide (rust) is the useless residue of oxidization. It was originally a byproduct of sulfuric acid manufacture during the 17th & 18th centuries, and was possibly an early form of the copperas process used for the manufacture of Venetian red and copperas red[1]

Caput mortuum is also sometimes used as an alternative name for Mummy brown (alternatively, Egyptian brown), a pigment that was originally made in the 16th and 17th centuries from ground-up mummies, and whose use was discontinued in the 19th century when artists became aware of its ingredients.[2]

  1. Harley, R.D. (2001). Artists' Pigments: c. 1600-1836. JG Publishing : Archetype Publications. ISBN 1-873132-91-3. 
  2. Church, A. H. (1901). The Chemistry of Paints and Painting. London: Seeley and Co..