Cerulean may be applied to a range of colors from deep blue, sky-blue, bright blue or azure color through greenish blue colors.

The first recorded use of cerulean as a color name in English was in 1590. The word is probably derived from the Latin word caeruleus, "dark blue, blue or blue-green", which in turn probably derives from caelulum, diminutive of caelum, "heaven, sky".

Use in artistic painting

In classical times, cerulean was used to describe blue pigments, particularly mixtures of copper and cobaltous oxides. These early attempts to create sky blue colors were often less than satisfactory due to greenish hues and lack of permanence. When the pigment cerulean blue (shown in the color box above) was invented, it largely superseded all these prior pigments.

Cerulean blue pigment

Discovered in 1805 by Andreas Höpfner, the pigment originally referred to as cerulean blue (or corruleum blue) was first marketed in 1860 as "coeruleum" by George Rowney of the United Kingdom. The primary chemical constituent of the pigment is cobalt(II) stannate.

It is particularly valuable for artistic painting of skies because of the purity of the blue (specifically the lack of greenish hues), its permanence (no other blue pigments retained color as well), and its opaqueness.

Today, cobalt chromate is sometimes marketed under the cerulean blue name but is darker and greener (Rex Art color index PB 36) than the cobalt stannate version (color index PB 35). The chromate makes excellent turquoise colors and is identified by Rex Art and some other manufacturers as "cobalt turquoise".

Dark cerulean

Displayed at right is the color dark cerulean.

Cerulean in culture


Computer software


Graphic design

  • Cerulean is "the color of the sky on a serene, crystal clear day,"according to Pantone, Inc.


  • Cerulean is the album title for the September 10, 1991 music release by the band The Ocean Blue


  • Cerulean is important in two episodes of The X-Files; Pusher and Kitsunegari. The antagonist repeats the word as a hypnotic catalyst to lull his victim into a state of mind control.


  • In the musical Les Misérables, Fantine's dress and costumes are cerulean blue.

Video games

  • The text in the beginning of the opening cinematic of Chrono Cross features the lines "Yet even then, we ran like the wind, Whilst our laughter echoed, Under cerulean skies..."
  • Cerulean is the name of a city in the English translation of Pokémon Red and Blue.
  • The Cerulean is a title given to Azul the Cerulean in Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII.
  • Cerulean is the described eye color of Squall Leonhart, the male protagonist in Final Fantasy VIII.
  • Cerulean is the original eye color of Naruto (main character of the anime series Naruto), except when Naruto's chakra is mixed with the Kyuubi (at which point his eyes turn red).
  • Cerulean is a planet in the N64 game Jet Force Gemini. The level consists of blue-green sand dunes.
  • Cerulean is the color of Sonic the Hedgehog.

See also


External links

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