I've long had a feeling that the scenes in the paintings created at least 150 years ago are generally darker than those created more recently. I just read the article "Why Renaissance Paintings Aren’t as Green as They Used to Be: Once a brilliant hue, the pigment verdigris is now mostly brown" (https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/renaissance-verdigris-green-pigment). It occurred to me that at least partially, the answer may be in the pigment the painters used to use. It's true that verdigris fell out of fashion by the 19th century, and it's only about the (originally) green color anyway. But could it be generally true that the painters a few centuries ago did use brighter colors than we see them today?

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    Welcome to History:SE. Some aspects of your main question Are old paintings generally darker today than they were when originally painted? are covered in the Wikipedia article on Conservation and restoration of paintings Nov 24 '19 at 23:05
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    A lot of the darkness of old paintings is just centuries of accumulated dirt. Expecially if they were kept in places heated by wood fires, or where people smoked.
    – jamesqf
    Nov 25 '19 at 4:59
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    They can be darker for to reasons a) the oil pain darkens with years, and b) they show interiors of buildings. Interiors of buildings were indeed darker 150 years ago.
    – Alex
    Nov 25 '19 at 4:59

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