Color Spotlight: Alizarin Crimson Quinacridone (PV19 Crimson)

Da Vinci Alizarin Crimson (Quinacridone): gradient, opacity and glazing tests, and color mixes. Handwritten note says “Nice handling.”

Traditionally, Alizarin Crimson is made from pigment PR83, which is falling out of favor because it is not lightfast. Different companies have different solutions to this, offering colors with names like “Permanent Alizarin Crimson” made from various mixes of lightfast reds. Some artists also mix their own (a popular recipe is Perylene Maroon + Quin Rose). Da Vinci’s answer to a new Alizarin Crimson is made from PV19, the same quinacridone pigment that is used for Quin Rose. Since this is the first Alizarin Crimson I’ve ever used, I can’t compare it to the original; I’ll just be exploring it on its own merits as a possible deep red for my palette.

Experiment Results

Gradient: The gradient is what made me fall in love with this paint. It’s so easy to grade. This seems to be a real superpower of all the Da Vinci paints I’ve tried. In masstone, it is a deep crimson red, similar to Pyrrol Crimson; but it fades to a pinker color that looks more like baby pink than light red.

Granulating: No.

Opacity: Looks totally transparent to me.

Glazing: Glazes to a deep maroon.

Color Mixes: Bright, cheerful mixes. This is one of the few reds that is totally versatile and just as easily makes bright oranges as bright purples! Phthalo Green was the closest to a complement.

Comparison to Other Colors

I was afraid this PV19 red would be too similar to Quin Rose for both to be on my palette, but to me they look fairly distinct. Alizarin Crimson is much redder and Quin Rose is much pinker.

Left to right: Alizarin Crimson PV19, Quin Rose PV19

The mixes are fairly similar, as you might expect from two colors made from the same pigment that are similar in dilute. Being brighter and more purple-toned, Quin Rose makes much more vibrant purples. Being redder, Alizarin Crimson Quinacridone makes it easier to produce colors in the red/orange range, whereas Quin Rose can make it hard to make reds that aren’t really pink.

Color mixes: Quin Rose on the left, Alizarin Crimson Quin on the right.

Compared to Pyrrol Crimson, the Alizarin Crimson hue is bluer-toned; a similar hue in masstone but pinker in dilute; and makes purples rather than grays with blue.

Color Mixes

Pure Yellow

DV Alizarin Crimson Quinacridone (PV19) + WN Winsor Yellow (PY154) on Wonder Forest paper

Moderate oranges to goldenrod.

Transparent Brown Oxide

DS Transparent Brown Oxide (PR101) + DV Alizarin Crimson Quinacridone (PV19) on Wonder Forest

Brick colors. A bit granulating due to the TBO.

Phthalo Blue

DV Alizarin Crimson Quinacridone (PV19) + WN Winsor Blue GS (PB15:3) on Wonder Forest paper

A touch of blue deepens and mutes the crimson; a touch of crimson deepens and mutes the blue. Purples are fairly muted. Mixes are darker than either color unmixed.

Prussian Blue

Holbein Prussian Blue (PB27) + Da Vinci Alizarin Crimson Quinacridone (PV19) on Wonder Forest paper

Both colors are on the dark side, so all the mixes are dark. Again, colors mute each other to some extent, resulting in muted purples, violet-blues, or dark crimsons.


DV Alizarin Crimson Quuinacridone (PV19) + DV Cerulean Genuine (PB36) on Wonder Forest paper

I truly love this as a sunset-cloud purple. The granulation from the Cerulean gives it nice texture, and the color is lovely and bold but not over-the-top.

Phthalo Green (Yellow Shade)

DV Alizarin Crimson Quinacridone (PV19) + WN Winsor Green YS (PG36) on Wonder Forest paper

Roughly complementary, darkening to blackish red-browns and gray-greens. I think I see a true gray in there, though it could be on the bluey side.

My Overall Takeaway

I really enjoy this deep red – it sparks joy! I prefer its handling and color to Pyrrol Crimson or other similar deep reds. Its only potential downside is that it is less distinct than some crimsons from other PV19s, including Quin Rose equivalents, notably DV Red Rose Deep.

On my palette? Not on my main, but a crucial component of my Autumn palette.

Favorite version: Da Vinci Alizarin Crimson Quinacridone is the highly specific color I’ve described here. Other Alizarin Crimson hues might be good, too, but I haven’t tried them; various formulas are used, so I’m not sure if any are exactly equivalent.

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