While this book is full of pictures, it is very imformative It discusses the history of color pigment, use and maeaning, and not only of the color blue For example red was made from madder, a rusty red, and was the most common with yellow and black till the middle ages Purple came from sea urchins and blue from lapis rocks.Very interesting, and since its translated from the original French, I d like to know just how Euro centric it is. Lovely overview of the emergence of blue as an important color in medieval Europe an of its changes of connotations up to the modern period, when blue constitutes the most neutral color. BleuL Histoire De La Couleur Bleue Dans Les Soci T S Europ Ennes Est Celle D Un Complet Renversement Pour Les Grecs Et Les Romains, Cette Couleur Compte Peu Elle Est M Me D Sagr Able L Il Or Aujourd Hui, Partout En Europe, Le Bleu Est De Tr S Loin La Couleur Pr F R E Devant Le Vert Et Le Rouge L Ouvrage De Michel Pastoureau Raconte L Histoire De Ce Renversement, En Insistant Sur Les Pratiques Sociales De La Couleur Toffes Et V Tements, Vie Quotidienne, Symboles Et Sur Sa Place Dans La Cr Ation Litt Raire Et Artistique, Depuis Les Soci T S Antiques Et M Di Vales Jusqu L Poque Moderne Il Analyse Galement Le Triomphe Du Bleu L Poque Contemporaine, Dresse Un Bilan De Ses Emplois Et Significations Et S Interroge Sur Son Avenir Who would have thought that the color blue was not only hated but not named, or tolerated until the 14th century Prior to that time it was thought to be a hot color Now it is considered to be a cool color It was culturally and socially unacceptable to wear blue Today, most people prefer blue to any other color Our culture accepts it primarily due to the unversal acceptance of blue jeans beginning with Levi Strauss in the 1850s Red, white and black were the only recognized colors for centuries The Indigo dye for a deep, rich, vibrant blue was too expensive to ship from the middle east Only when artists painted the Virgin did blue become and acceptable over time The book is full of exquisite color pictures and historical descriptions The price of this book at the local book store is 270 which indicates how well thought out and laid out this book was published It is a fascinating and entertaining story about a simple color and the cultures and societies that impacted it throughout Western history. I just realized I had never posted this Unlikely as it seems, this coffee table book was a fascinating look at how blue came to be the most popular color among artists and in society, and taught me for the first time that there were sumptuary laws in various nations at various times designed to restrict the type and color of clothing commoners could wear so they didn t compete with the raiment of royalty As I recall, one factoid was that the popularity of black and white for men s clothing, still epitomized in the tuxedo, came from sumptuary laws that restricted wealthy merchants to those colors. Blue was a color the Romans associated with barbarism It is rarely found in bronze age art Many medieval artists preferred to depict water as green rather than blue Why How, when it was so rare throughout history, did blue come to be the most common color in the world today How and why did various laws try to prohibit the creation of certain colors Why did the color blue become associated with the Virgin These are the questions that M Pastoureau answers in this sumptuously illustrated history. The story of a color is, of course, the story of how humans perceive that color and, comparatively, other colors It was fascinating to read about the lack of mention in early records of the color we know as blue The color blue seemed to arise out of a growing human perception of color, of the color wheel, and ofthe development of dyeing techniques.Superstitions, and belief systems played an important part in establishing a color hierarchy in fashion in the 13th century, when this book begins it s history The influence of religion and politics continues with some effect to this day.The story of dye discoveries, using woad in the earliest years of blue colorizing and then indigo as a brighter, resilient dye, and also, who had access to the colorants is, again, a story of humanity and civilization In the late 19th and early 20th century, while France was insistant on having blue uniforms for it s soldiers, England controlled most of the supply of indigo The French government compromised and gave their troops blue coats but bright red trousers The heavy human losses in French military campaigns into World War 1 have been blamed on their soldiers visibility in the field.This study of blue diverges weirdly into several pages on the history of the French flag and a couple of it s competitors Blue, may I remind you, comprises only a third of the French flag True, the author is French, but as much time could have been spent on the British, the US, the Czech, the Russian, or any other tricolored flag.I picked up this book because blue is my favorite color The book concludes that blue is about half the world s favorite color, so I, or you, if you share this characteristic, should feel so special.I found the final sentences oddly philosophical, if not judgemental After a discourse on how the color blue evolved in human perception from a warm color to a cold color, and how that change might have occurred with the growing use of blue to signify bodies of water on maps, rather than the green used in the earliest maps, the author concludes In the collective imagination and daily life, however, it took quite a while for water to become blue, and for blue to become cold Cold like our contemporary Western societies, for which blue is at once the emblem, symbol, and favorite color. The author begins this history with audacious claims about the irrelevance p.10 of human biology to the process of ascribing meaning to color , insisting instead that color is a social phenomenon The author does a fine job illustrating the second claim throughout the book, showing how attitudes towards colors change over time with changes in religious belief and social practices But the first, audacious claim has to be false There is ample evidence that the structure of color perception is dependent on the fact that humans are trichromats, and that facts about color opposition red is opposed to green, blue to yellow are due to the role of opponent processes in the human visual system And biological facts, like genetic color deficiencies, surely affect the meaning of colors for those with the deficiencies There are other weird gaps in the book s scholarship as well There are brief discussions of opinion polls that try to determine what our favorite color is, but there is no discussion of Komar and Melamed s famous Most Wanted survey of world aesthetic tastes, which concluded that blue was the favorite color of majorities in most countries The book offers evidence that black, white and red were the primary color categories of the ancient world, with blue not figuring in treatises on color, even when describing the colors of the rainbow That interestingly confirms the famous claims by anthropologists Berlin Kay and Kay McDaniel that there is a specific pattern to the development of color vocabulary whereby blue is always a later basic color term than black , white and red But there is no mention of Kay Berlin s work in relation to the interesting historical fact about ancient color terms There is also a near total focus on European, and in the post medieval period, French, attitudes and practices with regard to color the author is French During an extended discussion of the significance of different colors during the French Revolution, and in particular the tricolor, the author says It is easy to imagine that if the British flag had not been red, white, and blue, that of the American Revolution would not have been either, and therefore neither the French Revolution, nor the Empire or Republic that followed, would have used these colors To understand the American and French flags, then, WE MUST GO BACK TO THE ORIGINS OF THE BRITISH FLAG, which was already red, white, and blue in the early seventeenth century p.148 But then the author only spends TWO sentences explaining the origins of the British flag, before returning to an extended discussion of the color of cockades in the French Revolution I thought the British flag was important, because the author just told me it was Argh I wrote a 300 word review for this book and it was eaten by the GR popup Will rewrite In two words blue rocks And there are other colors too.La guerre entre guede rt garance a t gagn par indigo fascinating did you know Europeans never wore blue until the Middle Ages or later not for everyone it s a specialized subject I think you have to like history and or art Lavishly illustrated.
Pastoureau was born in Paris on 17 June 1947 He studied at the cole Nationale des Chartes, a college for prospective archivists and librarians After writing his 1972 thesis about heraldic bestiaries in the Middle Ages, he worked in the coins, medals and antiquities department of the French National Library until 1982.Since 1983 he has held the Chair of History of Western Symbolism Chaire
- 214 pages
- Bleu : Histoire d'une couleur
- Michel Pastoureau
- 02 March 2017 Michel Pastoureau