Pyrrol Crimson is a robust deep crimson red with a slight blue undertone. It’s recommended by Jane Blundell as a part of her Ultimate Mixing Palette, as a lightfast and single-pigment replacement for the fugitive Alizarin Crimson.
Gradient: Not a nice gradient – the color seemed to want to gather at the top rather than grading evenly down. This is pretty much a straight ahead red all right. In masstone it’s brick red and in dilute it’s light red (not pink: light red).
Opacity: Semi-transparent seems right.
Glazing: A nice dark red glaze.
I wasn’t sure how I felt about this color so I did some more tests, including experimenting with five-step color mixes – so you can see the different colors made by tilting more toward the red side or more toward the other color.
Salt: Moderately reactive to salt; the salt left a light dusting.
Blooms: Nice, interesting blooms.
- Yellow (Winsor Yellow, Hansa Yellow Medium, Quin Gold): Makes golds rather than oranges.
- Yellow Green (Serpentine): A range of dusty rose, warm beige, brown, and olive. I rather like the middle brown.
- Green Blue (Phthalo Blue Green Shade): Near middle black/gray, erring on the blue side. Grayish purples. The bluest color is a lovely muted dark blue, and the reddest color is very much like Perylene Violet.
- Violet Blue (Ultramarine): More dusty purples, slightly less dusty but still very muted.
- Earth Tones (Transparent Red Oxide): Close enough to TRO that I can’t really see much difference between the shades. A range of brick/earth reds.
Comparison to Other Colors
Completing the Pyrrol Trilogy (which I always find hard to keep straight), this is much darker and bluer than the bright Pyrrol Red; which in turn is bluer than the very orangey Pyrrol Scarlet.
Pyrrol Crimson is said to be a good replacement for Alizarin Crimson (PR83). Compared to Da Vinci’s Alizarin Crimson Quinacridone hue (made from PV19 like Quin Rose), Pyrrol Crimson seems to me a bit less blue-toned. They look similar in masstone, but if you look at the dilute, the PV19 crimson is much pinker.
Another color that is frequently proposed as an Alizarin replacement is Perylene Maroon. Pyrrol Crimson looks similar in dilute, but Perylene Maroon gets darker and browner.
Comparison to Other Brands
Holbein – Pyrrole Rubin
I… really like this! It’s a bit warmer and more cheerful than the DS, while still being a deep crimson (not a bright red). The gradient is nicer, as is the pink tone in dilute. This feels like a better replacement for Alizarin Crimson, but it’s still significantly warmer than, say, Alizarin Crimson Quinacridone. It’s funny because this color is only subtly different from the DS version of the same pigment, but it’s enough to make me “get it” where I didn’t really “get” DS Pyrrol Crimson.
Imidazolone Yellow (PY154)
Dull orange and gold mixes.
Pyrrol Orange (PO73)
A range of bold scarlets and middle reds – including some good Pyrrol Scarlet and Pyrrol Red hues. Of course, if lightfastness is your concern, you may want to stick with Pyrrol Scarlet or Pyrrol Red, both of which are more lightfast than PR264.
Pyrrol Scarlet (PR255)
Makes a nice fire engine red in the middle.
Quinacridone Coral (PR209)
Quin Coral never seems to quite make middle red, even when mixed with a deep red like this one. The mixes remain in the pinky area or they just look like a weirdly literal mix of pink and red.
Phthalo Blue Green Shade (PB15:3)
Phthalo Turquoise (PB16)
Similar to PBGS, even more muted.
Cerulean Blue (PB36)
Lovely cloudy, textured, purplish-gray mixes. Quite close to a neutral but with just enough bluey undertones to suggest stormclouds. I usually use three colors for a cloud shadow but this works with just two!
Dark, deep purples. Reminds me of Perylene Violet.
Phthalo Green Blue Shade (PG7)
This is a pretty perfect complement!
Phthalo Green Yellow Shade (PG36)
Dark, near-black grays/browns/dark greens. Gray-brown is a touch yellow-toned, indicated these colors might both be too warm to be true complements.
What Others Say
Pyrrol Crimson is a more permanent crimson red to replace fugitive Alizarine Crimson.Jane Blundell, Cool Reds
I have explored many options from many manufacturers for this colour, including the lovely Daniel Smith Permanent Alizarin Crimson but this is a mix of three pigments and I prefer single pigment colours where possible. Other options include Da Vinci Alizarin Crimson Quinacridone (PV19), Daniel Smith Carmine, Daniel Smith Anthraquinoid Red (PR177), Winsor & Newton Alizarin Hue, W&N Permanent Carmine as well as many deep reds made with the pigment PR179 (Perylene Maroon). I love the colour of Anthraquinoid Red, but am not convinced it is totally light fast.
CAUTION. An attractive pigment, with a beautiful deep red color. However, as all the tested paints are near the bottom end of acceptable lightfastness, if you use them I recommend you put them through your own lightfastness test. Cadmium red deep or perylene maroon are suitable substitutes. See also the section on pyrrole pigments.Bruce MacEvoy, handprint.com
In my initial paintout of DS, I found it hard to like. I wanted to give it a chance because Jane Blundell liked it and because I saw its value on my palette (as a crimson that is more distinct from staple PV19 rose than ACQ), but I just didn’t care for it. When I tried Holbein, though, I really liked it!
Don’t expect PR264 to mix vibrant oranges or purples, as a brighter red or magenta would. It’s better for mixing more subdued colors, such as gray-purples (Perylene Violet hues); deepening reds; and muting blues or greens.
In landscape painting, I find it useful for adjusting green mixes, for adding red tones to browns, and for the occasional deep rich natural red, such as red maple leaves in fall. It adds a level of red to mixes that is bold for nature but still looks natural.
On my palette? Yes!
Favorite version: Holbein by far.