Mars black

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Synthetically prepared black iron oxide pigment that was developed in the early 20th century. Mars black is a permanent pigment that has a warm brownish black color. It is a dense, heavy powder and unlike most naturally produced black iron oxide pigments, it is magnetic (the exception is ground magnetite). Mars black absorbs oil readily and unlike lampblack, it is a good drier. Mars black can also be used with watercolors and it does not effloresce when used in mortars and cements.

See also Mars colors and Iron oxide black.

Synonyms and Related Terms

magnetic black iron oxide; Pigment Black 11; Marsschwarz (Deut.); noir de Mars (Fr.); nero di marte (It.); ijzeroxidezwart (synthetisch) (Ned.); negro de marte (Port.); Mapico black


No significant hazards.

Resources and Citations

  • Reed Kay, The Painter's Guide To Studio Methods and Materials, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1983
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979

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