Napoli yellow, the Egyptian color that represents the city

by Federico Quagliuolo

The Napoli yellow color is the physical representation not only of a city, but of a real one historical sentiment that binds us to ancient Egypt.

Yellow is in fact the color of tuff, plaster of many buildings in the historic center, of the colors of the sun and of the coat of arms of the Municipality of Naples (which, to be precise, is actually gold colored).

It is about one of the oldest existing colored pigments. To identify it there are these codes:

HEX: #F7E89F
RGB: (247; 232; 159)
CMYK: (2; 7; 48; 0)

Naples Yellow
Naples Yellow

Napoli Yellow or Egyptian Yellow?

The color of the Sun that illuminates the Mediterranean: The yellow could not fail to be loved by the ancient Egyptians, with their infinite culture halfway between the desert, the sea and the Nile.

The Egyptian yellow, this is the original name of the color, it was in fact a pigment certainly already used around 4th century BC. by the Egyptians and to Naples arrived around 1st century BC. at the hands of Alexandrian merchants, which in the city had a large presence. The presence of the statue of the god Nile.

The pigment, born from minerals, is therefore known and used in the city for decorations and murals since the times of the ancient Romans, although previously it had the name of "Giallorino" or "yellowish“: It is a name still associated with color today, but to identify a slightly lighter shade.

Alleys of Naples yellow Naples
The alleys of Naples: an immersion in yellow!

The color of the artists who were not born in Naples

The yellow Naples has become famous thanks to landscape painting and it is for this reason that all over the world it is linked to the name of the Italian city (in France it is also known as jaune d'antimoine). In fact, color was indispensable for almost all painters of the Posillipo school, from Van Pitlo to the foreigners who visited Naples, come on Russians ai Austrians, passing through Achenbach. Everyone was crazy about yellow, so much so that it was commonly believed that that particular shade came from processing of Neapolitan yellow tuff, although technically this is not the case, being a product of antimony.

In the painting manuals of each time this color is referred to as excellent for sunsets, as well as it is ideal for painting the Autumn leaves, or - case watch - excellent for painting walls of buildings illuminated by the sun, which in Naples have their own characteristic yellow color alternating with the dark gray of piperno. The Giallorino, on the other hand, it is ideal for painting the parts of the image that are to be depicted sunlit roofs.

There first time in which the name "yellow Naples" appears, however, he is not in Naples. As the "Dictionary of color”By McGraw-Hill published in New York in 1930, the first certified use of the name "Naples Yellow" is in England in 1738, probably just to remember the city that was already famous for its people at the time panoramas and for the typical color of tuff.

Also Paul Cezanne he was a fan of the yellow naples, which could never be missing from his palette.

Case bellevue Cezanne yellow Naples
The houses of Bellevue, a painting by Cezanne with the yellow Naples

The properties of yellow: a Neapolitan color

Cheerful, happy, bright. Yellow is the color of summer and of beautiful emotions, a bath of energy and optimism which, respecting the principles of color theory as never before, is special feature of the historic center of Naples and represents more than ever i positive characters of the Neapolitan.

-Federico Quagliuolo


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