Vermeer’s colours

Critics say that there are no more than 20 different pigments in Vermeer’s paintings. However, he seems to use 10 of these pigments constantly. We have to take into account that he lived in Delft in the 17th century. In addition to that, each pigment had to bemade separately and they had dofferetn characteristics in terms of workability or drying time.

  • The Wooden Palette:

    The wooden palette is the one that appears on the photo and represents the seven pigments that Vermeer most used:

1. white lead
2. yellow ochre
3. vermillion
4. red madder
5. green earth
6. raw umber
7. ivory black

To conclude, have a look at this extract taken from the movie ‘The girl with a pearl earring’ in which you can see how Vermeer worked and made his pigments.

Bibliography and more information:

‘Vermeer’s Palette’ in Essential Vermeer (2001-2009). Retrieved 10:27, March 31, 2009 from


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