Cochineal (Dactylopius coccus) is an insect native to tropical and subtropical America producing carminic acid, a red colored substance. Before the arrival of this insect in Europe, other insect were used producing the same substance, even if in smaller amounts. At present cultivations of these insects exist: they live on some genus of cacti in Central and South America and in Canary Islands.
If the coloring matter of cochineal is fixed on a mineral base, a beautiful magenta lake is obtained: this is used to prepare this watercolor.
Use: In fine arts mostly for the preparation of watercolors and temperae. It is also suitable for oil painting, especially for glazing.