Leaves from Jacques Le Lieur, Poème sur la Passion
This pigment appears to have been employed exclusively by the Master of Girard Acarie, who let his assistants use a cheaper and much more common carbon-based black. The appeal of antimony black over a conventional carbon black may have been its dark grey rather than black colour, as well as the cool grey hue it provides when mixed with lead white.
Antimony black was listed by Vannoccio Biringuccio in his 1540 manual for metalworking, Pirotechnia, as a pigment for earthenware vases. A pottery manufacture was active in Rouen during the first half of the 16th century; this may provide an explanation for the local availability of antimony black and for the Master of Girard Acarie’s peculiar choice.