Antimony

DEFINITION

A silvery white, brittle, yet soft metal, used in alloys to improve the working qualities of other metals, britannia, lead, and pewter, for example. Antimony sulfide was used as the cosmetic known as kohl in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries. It is also used in making yellow glazes for ceramics, particularly majolica. Antimony suspended in lead was mined on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius from the Middle Ages, and was the source of an important orange-yellow pigment during the Renaissance called Naples yellow. This was paler than ocher but not as strong as the chrome yellows developed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Antimony oxides, not developed until the twentieth century, are also the source of white and vermilion pigments.An example of a work utilizing antimony: Richard Serra (American, 1939-), Prop, 1968, lead antimony, 97 1/2 x 60 x 43 inches (247.7 x 152.4 x 109.2 cm), Whitney Museum of American Art, NY. See Minimalism.

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