Did you know that the blue ultramarine that shines in the center of Vermeer's The Milkmaid connects that masterpiece with 6th-century Zoroastrian paintings found on the walls of cave temples in Afghanistan? Or that the waves that curl in Hokusai's perilous Great Wave off Kanagawa owe their absorbing blue sheen to an alchemist born in Frankenstein's castle in 1673? And were the Pre-Raphaelites really obsessed with a dark brown shade derived from the pulverized remains of ancient mummies? (Spoiler: They were.)<
Invented by prehistoric cavemen and medieval magicians, crafty tricksters and savvy scientists, the colors of art tell a riveting story that is all color's own. Over ten chapters, acclaimed author Kelly Grovier helps bring this narrative to life, revealing the backstories of the pigments that define the greatest works in art history.
Grovier also touches on key moments in the development of color theory - from the revelations of the Enlightenment to the radicalism of the Bauhaus - while reproductions of carefully selected works of art help illuminate the twists and turns of the narrative.
Kelly Grovier is a columnist and features writer for BBC Culture, and has written about the arts in The Times Literary Supplement, The Independent, The Sunday Times, Observer, RA Magazine and Wired. He is the author of several books, including A New Way of Seeing: The History of Art in 57 Works (2018) and On the Line: Conversations with Sean Scully (2021).
Dimensions: 24.6 x 17 cm
Pages: 256, hardback
Author: Kelly Grovier