Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Brilliant History of Color in Art by Victoria Finlay

The history of art is inseparable from the history of color. And what a fascinating story they tell together: one that brims with an all-star cast of characters, eye-opening details, and unexpected detours through the annals of human civilization and scientific discovery. 

Enter critically acclaimed writer and popular journalist Victoria Finlay, who here takes readers across the globe and over the centuries on an unforgettable tour through the brilliant history of color in art. Written for newcomers to the subject and aspiring young artists alike, Finlay’s quest to uncover the origins and science of color will beguile readers of all ages with its warm and conversational style. Her rich narrative is illustrated in full color throughout with 166 major works of art—most from the collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum. 

Readers of this book will revel in a treasure trove of fun-filled facts and anecdotes. Were it not for Cleopatra, for instance, purple might not have become the royal color of the Western world. Without Napoleon, the black graphite pencil might never have found its way into the hands of Cézanne. Without mango-eating cows, the sunsets of Turner might have lost their shimmering glow. And were it not for the pigment cobalt blue, the halls of museums worldwide might still be filled with forged Vermeers. 

Red ocher, green earth, Indian yellow, lead white—no pigment from the artist’s broad and diverse palette escapes Finlay’s shrewd eye in this breathtaking exploration. 


"The left brain does the analytical thinking: itlikes words and numbers and lines and monochrome. It is the critic. The right brain is the chaotic, fun-loving, color-loving, visual, spontaneous side that can't organize its way out of a paper bag. I like to think of disegno as left brain and colorito as right brain. That still doesn't answer the question of which is better. Do you prefer creative order or organized chaos?"

"Pink once meant yellow"

"It was yellow and it came from India, but the name does not mention is that it was made from the urine of cows or buffalo fed mango leaves." 

"Mauve is a chemistry project gone wrong!"

"Blue only become the "traditional" color for boys in the 20th century. Before that pink was just as popular."

An amazing read full of fun and serious informations about colors.

From the historical or scientific aspects, the author tells you a story about colors without being boring. 
You don't have to follow page by page, you can explore it according to your moods. You will browse through it and soon become engross in it without knowing it! :-)

It's really a wonderful way to discover more about pigments, dyeing processes while talking about the colors origin or learning about the latin references.

Fun, serious and interesting anecdotes are offered. The reader is also embarked on a journey around the world as well as a stroll through time. 

Flowers, rocks, mineral, bugs and modern colors, you will learn a lot.

A great book for the lovers of art.

*Arc provided by Netgalley.
I received this book in exchange of a fair and honest review.

No comments:

Post a Comment