is a strong, bright, deep red
color combined with some blue
, resulting in a tiny degree of purple
. It is originally the color of the dye produced from a scale insect
, Kermes vermilio
, but the name is now also used for slightly bluish-red colors in general that are between red and rose
was produced using the dried bodies of the kermes
insect, which were gathered commercially in Mediterranean countries, where they live on the Kermes oak
, and sold throughout Europe. Kermes dyes have been found in burial wrappings in Anglo-Scandinavian York
. They fell out of use with the introduction of cochineal
, because although the dyes were comparable in quality and color intensity it needed ten to twelve times as much kermes to produce the same effect as cochineal.
Carmine is the name given to the dye made from the dried bodies of the female cochineal, although the name crimson is sometimes applied to these dyes too. Cochineal appears to have been discovered during the conquest of Mexico by the Spaniard Hernán Cortés, and the name 'carmine' is derived from the Spanish word for crimson. It was first described by Mathioli in 1549. The pigment is also called cochineal after the insect from which it is made.
Alizarin is a pigment that was first synthesized in 1868 by the German chemists Carl Gräbe and Carl Liebermann and replaced the natural pigment madder lake. Alizarin crimson is a dye bonded onto alum which is then used as a pigment and mixed with ochre, sienna and umber. It is not totally colorfast.
The word crimson
has been recorded in English since 1400
, and its earlier forms include cremesin
, a crimson cloth). These were adapted via Old Spanish
from the Medieval Latin cremesinus
), the dye produced from Kermes
scale insects, and can be traced back to the Turkish kırmızı
(red in Turkish), which in turn stems from the Sanskrit krmi-ja
, a compound meaning "produced by a worm
" from krmih
"worm" + -ja
"produced" (from the Proto-Indo-European
A shortened form of carmesinus also gave the Latin carminus, from which comes carmine.
Other cognates include the Old Church Slavic čruminu and the Russian čermnyj "red". Cf. also vermilion.
Carmine dyes, which give crimson and related red and purple colors, are based on an aluminium and calcium salt of carminic acid. Carmine lake is an aluminium or aluminium-tin lake of cochineal extract, and Crimson lake is prepared by striking down an infusion of cochineal with a 5 percent solution of alum and cream of tartar. Purple lake is prepared like carmine lake with the addition of lime to produce the deep purple tone. Carmine dyes tend to fade quickly.
Carmine dyes were once widely prized in both the Americas and in Europe. They were used in paints by Michelangelo and for the crimson fabrics of the Hussars, the Turks, the British Redcoats, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Nowadays carmine dyes are used for coloring foodstuffs, medicines and cosmetics. As a food additive, carmine dyes are designated E120, and are also called cochineal and Natural Red 4. Carmine dyes are also used in some oil paints and watercolors used by artists.
The shade of red on the infobox to the right is alizarin crimson. This is an artificially created color, used to replace the harder to obtain rose madder.
Displayed at right is the color razzmatazz.
This color is a rich shade of crimson-rose.
Razzmatazz was a new Crayola crayon color chosen in 1993 as a part of the Name The New Colors Contest.
Crimson in human culture
Computer & Video Games
- Crimson is a color of Nintendo DS Lite (crimson on top, black on bottom).
- In the arcade game The King Of Fighters, one of the main characters is called Ash Crimson owing to his red outfit and his personality.
- Crimson is a name given to Rosso in Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII for her red outfit and bloodthirsty nature.
- In the 1997 playstation strategy game Vandal Hearts the Crimson Guard were a bloodthirsty order of knights and soldiers that's crimson armour matched the color of the blood they spilled.Cultural references
- In English, crimson is traditionally associated with the color of blood, and hence is associated with violence, courage and martyrdom. It was the most distinctive color of British officers' uniforms until the introduction of khaki camouflage, and remains in use for the colours (flag). The King's Royal Hussars still wear crimson trousers. However, the haemoglobin red is darker and has a lower chroma, and the haemoglobin molecule is structurally unrelated.
- In Polish, karmazyn ('crimson') is also a synonym for a Magnate, i.e., a member of the nobility.Emblem colors
- The international non-profit Greek letter organizations Delta Sigma Theta Sorority (ΔΣΘ), Incorporated & Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity (KAΨ), Incorporated use crimson and cream as its official colors.
- Crimson is the school color of several universities, including Harvard University, Indiana University, New Mexico State University, Saint Joseph's University, University of Alabama, University of Belgrano, University of Mississippi, University of Oklahoma, University of Utah, Washington State University, Korea University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The daily newspaper at Harvard is called The Harvard Crimson, and the daily newspaper at Alabama is called The Crimson White. Harvard's athletic teams are the Crimson, while the University of Alabama competes as The Crimson Tide. The University of Kansas uses crimson paired with a deep blue to create its traditional colors.
- Crimson is a color of several high schools. Morristown-Beard School in New Jersey, a prep school founded by Harvard graduates, has Crimson as its team names. Maple Grove Senior High School in Maple Grove, Minnesota, is called the 'Maple Grove Crimson' and the high school's colors are crimson and gold. duPont Manual High School adopted the Crimson in 1892 and the football team is known as the Manual Crimsons. The teams of Juneau-Douglas High School in Juneau, Alaska are known as the 'Crimson Bears' and their colors are crimson and black.Literature
- In the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah uses crimson to symbolize sin. Isaiah 1:18 states, "'Come now, let us reason together,' says the LORD. 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool."
- In fiction, the primary villain of Stephen King's The Dark Tower series is the Crimson King. The Crimson King also makes appearances in other King works, such as the novel Insomnia. Bev Vincent notes in his The Road to the Dark Tower that the color is intended to symbolize sickness, madness, and pain.
- In the Star Trek universe, in the mirror universe, the Terran Empire has a flag that displays the symbol of the empire, a map of Earth with a dagger through it, rendered in gold on a field of crimson. Military
- In the United States Army, crimson is the color of the Ordnance Corps.Music
- King Crimson has been a popular rock group since the debut in 1969 of their first album, In the Court of the Crimson King.
- Crimson is the title of an album by the Swedish death metal band Edge of Sanity. They also made a follow-up to that album, entitled Crimson II.
- Crimson is the title of an Alkaline Trio album.
- Crimson Thunder the 2002 album of Swedish power metal band Hammerfall.
- Kill to Get Crimson is the title of Mark Knopfler's 5th solo album released in September, 2007.
- Crimson and Clover is a song and album by Tommy James and the Shondells.
- Behind Crimson Eyes is a rock band from Melbourne, Australia.
- A Sentenced album.
- "King In Crimson" is the first song from the Bruce Dickinson album The Chemical Wedding.
- The Crimson is the name of a song by Atreyu (band).
- Alizarin crimson is one of the colors listed in Donovan's song Wear Your Love Like Heaven.Panelology
- In the Flemish comic strip Suske en Wiske (Spike and Suzy) the name of the bad guy is Krimson.Television
- On the public television show The Joy of Painting, Bob Ross usually used alizarin crimson as a color on his palette.