The Library of Rare Colors

  • Published on: 18 March 2019
  • The Forbes Pigment Collection at the Harvard Art Museums is a collection of pigments, binders, and other art materials for researchers to use as standards: so they can tell originals from restorations from forgeries. It's not open to the public, because it's a working research library -- and because some of the pigments in there are rare, historic, or really shouldn't be handled by anyone untrained.

    More about the Forbes Pigment Collection:

    The Harvard Art Museums:

    Edited by Michelle Martin (@mrsmmartin)
    Audio mix by Graham Haerther

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  • Runtime : 5:13
  • tom scott tomscott built for science harvard art museums forbes pigment collection Narayan Khandekar straus center


  • Tom Scott
    Tom Scott   7 months ago

    I realised, after filming this, that it feels a little weird to have my introduction outside the Museum and the interview inside. But I'm weeks out of Boston now, so it has to stand!

  • DoABarrelRoll
    DoABarrelRoll   2 days ago

    Seems like a fun place for Sony, Dell, etc to film at to show off their color spectrum displays for BestBuy.

  • SRMkay
    SRMkay   2 days ago

    Absolutely love this. Too bad I'm colorblind so a lot of the distinct pigments would probably look the same to me...

  • Blazed-Banana
    Blazed-Banana   2 weeks ago

    As a colour blind person its kinda weird to think there is that many colours out there!

  • Zaurkax14
    Zaurkax14   3 weeks ago

    1:34 ah, Arabic cum, the rarest color

  • ztmunoz
    ztmunoz   3 weeks ago

    I feel like I should be paying for the content this channel regularly puts out. It’s amazing!

  • tasha ruth
    tasha ruth   3 weeks ago

    Completely off topic, I'm sorry. But Tom Scott reminds me so much of Mr. Darcy(Keira Knightly version), it's distracting. But it makes watching his videos even better 😊

  • 𖥠 ꧁Æ♱ℍᴲᮄℜᴲⅅ꧂𖥠

    Why can't you replicate any pigment color by just mixing cyan, yellow, magenta, and black? So painters really only need those 4 colors right? So why do they say certain rare colors only come from certain pigments? Why didnt they just mix red and blue dyes to make the purple dye they got from the expensive snails that only royalty could afford for example? That purple after all is only a mixture of colors.

  • Simon Carlile
    Simon Carlile   3 weeks ago

    Maybe one day they'll find a way to create stygian blue that doesn't rely on eye tricks

  • Carol Lee
    Carol Lee   3 weeks ago

    Mummy brown is just toooooooo strange!

  • nolon gioven
    nolon gioven   3 weeks ago

    4:42: This was beautifully arranged, took me 4 months, now it's all a bit higgledy piggledy...Reminds me of myself after every time I cleaned up my son's legos.

  • mike Languein
    mike Languein   3 weeks ago

    If Mummy Brown is made from ground up mummies, why isn't Indian Yellow made from . . .and what about Murphy Brown? Inquiring minds, etc.

  • Liz-with-a-Smile
    Liz-with-a-Smile   3 weeks ago

    Amazing stuff. But this is also an example of why I switched to digital.2 things- I can't imagine what having a full collection of quality colors would cost.And more importantly...that stuff be toxic.Digital resolves both of those problems....but its still not quite as fun as using real paint.

  • lordeisschrank
    lordeisschrank   3 weeks ago

    If some of them are sensitive to light... then shouldn't they be stored in a darker room?

  • Lucy
    Lucy   3 weeks ago

    this is what happens when nerds get into art

  • Renzo
    Renzo   3 weeks ago

    Doesn't anyone at Harvard know how to landscape the building grounds?

  • Alex Evenson
    Alex Evenson   3 weeks ago

    You were literally 1 block away from my high school. Sad I missed you

  • Mauricio Gomez
    Mauricio Gomez   3 weeks ago

    My favorite part of this video is seeing Stuart Semple's color creations featured immediately after the Anish Kapoor owned "Vanta-Black." If you're not aware of the awesomely petty but insanely entertaining feud between the two, please look it up.

  • Free Leech
    Free Leech   3 weeks ago

    Stop killing Indians to make Indian Yellow

  • Cheburushka
    Cheburushka   3 weeks ago

    2:52 imagine if there was a way to mark a chemical as poisonous without writing it out in big english letters

  • Annie NYC
    Annie NYC   4 weeks ago

    This was fascinating! Thank you!

  • doobs_402
    doobs_402   4 weeks ago

    "VantaBlack" I just heard Joe Rogan metion this. Too dark to put on cars, to much heat I guess.

  • Nathan Griffin
    Nathan Griffin   4 weeks ago

    why am I getting recommended this mildly interesting channel?

  • xXkaramatsuXx
    xXkaramatsuXx   4 weeks ago

    Jesus chrsit how is this video so smooth its like 120 fps others video dont feel like this

  • borednow
    borednow   4 weeks ago

    this is so interesting, i am glad youtube recommended this :D

    SEELE ONE   4 weeks ago

    But do they have Tyrian Purple?

  • caramel coffee
    caramel coffee   4 weeks ago

    vantablack is no longer the blackest black so suck on that

  • CL Pierce
    CL Pierce   4 weeks ago

    This is really cool and all but I died laughing at 2:52 when apparently the only writing implement these scientist had on hand to let everyone know something was poisonous crayon?

  • EXcentriX
    EXcentriX   4 weeks ago

    "When I was 18, i sloppily said: I rather collect colors then go to work"..."50 years later, here I am, at this University. I am the Master of Colors and Pigmentresearch."

  • Madalina Ioneci
    Madalina Ioneci   4 weeks ago

    Your face and your voice , your forehead and your head , total opposite. But I love the content of your channel !

  • Mira Irav
    Mira Irav   4 weeks ago

    Meta Question: Why are these pigments exposed to light? Are they trying to age them to show how they transform? Do they have pigments in permanent black sites (literally black - no light) for preservation?I am filled with anxiety after watching this video. What if none of these pigments remain for my children and grandkids to see over the decades? What if they waste away?