Viridian is a green pigment derived from a stable oxide of Chromium, patented by Guignet of Paris in 1859. Because of its improved per- manence and even colour it was a preferred pigment of artists including Van Gogh, Paul Klee, and Wassily Kandinsky, whose Green (1931) was painted almost entirely in viridian.
The use of viridian paint in hospitals was inspired by the work of Bauhaus artist Johannes Itten.Viridian was found to be the complementary colour to red blood, and it was thought that if operating theatres were painted green, surgeons’ eyes would take less time to adjust from the afterimage of the surgery, thus possibly reducing accidents. The research was misconstrued by hospital managers, and the paint was used much more widely, across whole institutions, and viridian paint came to be know as ‘Institutional Green’.

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