Reference Entry


David Blayney Brown

in Oxford Art Online

Published online January 2003 | e-ISBN: 9781884446054 | DOI:

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[Fr. aquarelle Ger. aquarellfarbe It. acquerello Sp. acuarela ]

Pigment dissolved in water and bound by a colloid agent so that it adheres to the working surface when applied with the brush. The same name is used for a work of art in that medium. Watercolour may be transparent or opaque and is usually applied to paper, but sometimes also to such materials as silk or vellum. The term arises because, in varying degrees, water is always used in the largest proportion and, in the purest application of the medium, twice—both to mix pigments and to dilute the colours. This article concentrates on the use of watercolour predominantly in Europe and the United Kingdom; for further discussion see Indian subcontinent, §V, 4(ix) and Islamic art, §I, 8 .

The colloid matter is usually combined with the pigment, which may be made up in dry cakes or moist in tubes. More rarely, it is dissolved in water, and the brush is dipped in the solution before taking up the colour. Varieties of gum are the most common colloids, the usual being ...

Reference Entry.  3806 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Painting ; Art Techniques and Principles

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