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Rose Madder
About these coordinates About these coordinates
— Color coordinates —
Hex triplet #E32636
RGBB (r, g, b) (227, 38, 54)
HSV (h, s, v) (348°, 90%, 77%)
Source [Unsourced]
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)

Rose madder, sometimes referred to as Rose Madder Genuine is the crushed root of the Common Madder plant (Rubia tinctorium). The ancient Egyptians used rose madder to create pinkish rose-colored textile dyes. The Color Index name used by paint and textile chemists for Rose Madder is Natural Red 9 (NR9)


Alizarin crimson – the synthetic form of rose madder

Rose madder saw limited use as an oil paint during the Renaissance era because it was considered a weak color. In the 19th century, chemists were able to manufacture a pigment that made rose madder a stronger and more durable oil paint. However, during the latter part of the 19th century, alizarin crimson was created and was considered at the time to be a superior replacement to rose madder. It is the synthetic form of rose madder, and its Color Index name is Pigment Red 83 (PR83). Alizarin Crimson was soon discovered by artists to be a perfect color on the palette, making beautiful violets when mixed with blue, and perfect blacks and neutrals when mixed with a dark green like Viridian or Pthalo Green.

Ironically, while both alizarin crimson and rose madder are now considered "fugitive pigments or colors," genuine rose madder is now believed to be the more permanent of the two.

Genuine rose madder

The term "genuine" is appended to the name "rose madder" if the paint has been manufactured by traditional means (using the root of the madder plant). The English manufacturer of oil paints Winsor & Newton sells "Rose Madder Genuine".[1] It is still used today by some artists, however it is considered by many to be "too fugitive".[2]

Quinacridone rose

Quinacridone rose is often used a substitute for rose madder. However, it is a far stronger color, with a more pure hue than the genuine Rose Madder, which makes it popular with psychedelic artists but unpopular with some other artists who prefer more subdued hues.

Permanent rose madder and permanent alizarin

In an attempt to produce a color that closely approximates the color of rose madder or alizarin crimson with pigments that are more permanent, many manufacturers produce colors made of various mixtures under names such as Permanent Alizarin. Not all of these mixtures are more permanent than the original however. For example Grumbacher manufactures a color called "rose madder hue" which is a mixture of Arylide Yellow (PY3) and Dihydroxy Anthraquinone Lake (PR83), which is simply an organic yellow mixed with Alizarin Crimson.

Industrial uses of rose madder and alizarin crimson

The relative weakness of rose madder limited its industrial uses mainly to textiles or artist's colors, but alizarin enjoyed widespread industrial use until the introduction of superior organic reds in this shade range started in the 1950s. By the beginning of the new millennium usage of rose madder and alizarin was in decline.

Transparency rating

Rose Madder Genuine: Transparency Rating = 4 (high transparency); Stainability Rating = 0 (low); non-toxic.

Rose madder and alizarin crimson in human culture


  • Alizarin crimson is one of the colors listed by Donovan in his song, Wear Your Love Like Heaven.
  • Alizarin crimson is mentioned in Karlheinz Stockhausen's 1966/67 musical composition Hymnen, where it is included in a spoken fugue where the names of dozens of different shades of red are intermingled as a symbol of the various forms of Communism that existed on the planet at that time.
  • A non-fiction book by Brian Murphy on the origins and current making of oriental rugs is titled The Root of Wild Madder: Chasing the History, Mystery, and Lore of the Persian Carpet. It includes a section on rose madder.


  1. ^ Simon Jennings (2003). Artist's Color Manual. Chronicle Books. ISBN 9780811841436.,M1.  
  2. ^ "magenta". Technical Information of Red Pigments.  

See also

External links

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