Alchemy’s Rainbow: Pigment Science and the Art of Conservation

This episode explores the colorful (and sometimes risk-filled) history of pigments and painters.

Episode 188 | May 5, 2014

“Alchemy’s Rainbow: Pigment Science and the Art of Conservation” features art conservator Mark F. Bockrath and art historian Elisabeth Berry Drago.

Our guests discuss and show the messy and occasionally dangerous process of making paints from pigments and the transition to using paints from tubes. They explain how conservators preserve paintings and why alchemists were so important to painters in early modern times.


Hosts: Michal Meyer and Bob Kenworthy
Producer, reporter and editor: Mariel Carr
Guests: Mark F. Bockrath and Elisabeth Berry Drago


“Pensacola Twilight,” Lee Rosevere
“Do What You Can,” Lee Rosevere 
“Backtime,” Lee Rosevere
“Stardust,” Phonotrash 
“Sunny Day,” The Rabbits 
“Wonder Cycle," Chris Zabriskie 
“Nia," Dubh Thrian
“Tragic," Semyon
“Converge to Some Centre," We Are All Alone 
“First,” Overlake 
"The Plaintive Heating Griddle,” Ergo Phizmiz 
Songs above courtesy of the Free Music Archive
"Stabbings," Moby -


Poisons and Pigments: A Talk with Art Historian Elisabeth Berry Drago