Bright Earth: Art and the Invention of Color

Bright Earth: Art and the Invention of ColorAffascinante Il blu oltremare si chiama cos non perch suggerisca il mare ma perch veniva da oltre il mare , dal lontano oriente Il Magenta ha questo nome per celebrare l omonima vittoria dei francesi Ci sdilinquiamo per i girasoli di Van Gogh, ma erano di un altro giallo quando li ha dipinti Ball, chimico affascinato dall arte e dalla tecnica artistica, ha scritto uno dei libri pi coinvolgenti e trascinanti che abbia letto negli ultimi anni anche se ho capito meno della met delle reazioni chimiche descritte. Brimful of facts, the book enhances our understanding of colors, color perception and production, drawing and history of art in general It portrays interesting intertwinement of painting techniques development and hardware available for artists at various points in history.I found it impossible to read without an Internet access available around Despite a number of illustrations the author constantly refers and for good reasons to a yet greater number of works Thus it isrewarding both estethically and cognitively to check those paintings to better understand the points made by this brilliant author. From Egyptian Wall Paintings To The Venetian Renaissance, Impressionism To Digital Images, Philip Ball Tells The Fascinating Story Of How Art, Chemistry, And Technology Have Interacted Throughout The Ages To Render The Gorgeous Hues We Admire On Our Walls And In Our MuseumsFinalist For TheNational Book Critics Circle Award 2,75Non ho capito la maggior parte delle cose di chimica e non ho trovato nozioni interessanti inerenti all arte antica e moderna che gi non conoscessi Si concentra troppo sull arte contemporanea e a me questa non interessa O meglio, non mi interessa approfondirla cos tanto Se siete interessati ai pittori del XX e XXI secolo ve lo consiglio, se volete sapere di pi sui colori utilizzati da Giotto o dagli artisti moderni Rinascimento ecc potete trovare libri incentrati proprio su questo tema Spero. The subtitle of this book is Art and the Invention of Color It s a book that I ve been looking for, for years I saw it once in the bookstore at a museum, many years ago and didn t buy it When I saw it again, it was an instant purchase The book pretty much answers the very basic question Where does color come from From the early Greeks and their very basic palette, to the Renaissance and beyond Out of the birth of Chemistry came vibrant colors used by the painters of the time Vibrant, yes, but rather toxic as well From the brown and red ochres to the story of blue, to purple and the story of chemical dye industry A fascinating read Pigments are not not simply and solely colour , but substances with specific properties and attributes, not the least among them cost How is your desire for blue affected if you had just paidfor it than its equivalent weight in gold That yellow looks glorious, but what if its traces on your fingertips could poison you at your supper table This orange tempts like distilled sunlight, but how do you know that it will not have faded to dirty brown by next year What, in short, is your relationship with the materials Pink was a pigment of diverse provenance recipes identify it as an extract of weld, broom, or unripe buckthorn berries but often of an indisputably yellow hue Pinks were in fact defined neither in terms of their ingredients nor of their color for there were also green pinks, brown pinks, and rose pinks It appears that the noun refers instead to the method of synthesis About Tyrian purple Each shellfish yielded just a drop of the dye, which was why the stuff was so fiendishly precious and why a significant proportion of the Phoenician population was employed in its manufacture One ounce of the dye, required the sacrifice of around 250,000 shellfish The shell piles of the Phoenicians still litter the eastern shore of the Mediterranean 9 10S 4 12 15 F 4 30 15 19 Days The best parts are the historical tracereis of the names of colors we take for granted but have no connection any to the earthiness of their origins Like this Crimson comes from the Greek word that approximated the name of an insect that when crushed by pestol would produce an intense dye of deep bluish red.It is not particularly well written very dense and sometimes clumsy But, it is so fascinating that one puts up with the style because the ideas are so intriguing.The most interesting thing I learned is that painters were also alchemists protecting their pigment recipes so fiercely A new revolution would be precipitated by making a new color which literally changed the style and execution of art thereafter Colors that were technologically unproduceable did not appear in artwork until they were innovated to be produceable An artist could exclusivize his work by having the only lindseed oil pigment recipe for a new color Only after he she died would that color become available to other artists through the apothecarists guilds across Europe One of the primary mercantile activities of apothecaries was the compounding and sale of artist oil pigments in paints and pastels They were the repositories of vast records of recipes for the production of artist paints which would morph into the burgeoning scientific discipline of chemistry serving the new needs of medicinal potions and pills This is why many people particularly in Europe still refer to the local corner pharmacy as the apothecarist Ball traces the historic processes of techonological color innovation through the ages relates it to art history through the ages Modern chemistry is the result of the Industrialization of the pigmentist apothecarist artist supply trade So fascinating.Ball makes plain the color space science of chroma, hue, value brought into the digitized cybernetic age takes us into the technological redefinition thru space exploration imaging transmission of what color is, scientifically speaking Very important book to read. Un libro complesso, che richiede una buona dose di volont per seguire i complessi ragionamenti in campo tecnico scientifico e in campo artistico 346 pagine dense, confesso che in qualche capitolo mi sono un po perso, soprattutto nel post Rinascimento Ma anche 346 pagine piene di rimandi, di tante storie che non conoscevo, di sofisticati pensieri sul senso dell arte ma anche sull influsso che l arte ha avuto sulla nostra percezione del mondo In una societ come la nostra, basata in larga misura sul vedere , non male fermarsi a meditare su cosa veramente vediamo e come vediamo Il colore materia, la materia chimica e tecnologia, la materia ha dei limiti, invecchia, cambia, e noi costruiamo le nostre percezioni su qualcosa che originariamente poteva essere anche sensibilmente diverso Gran parte dell arte che osserviamo la osserviamo attraverso riproduzioni, ma queste riproduzioni sono per loro stessa natura infedeli Quanto questa infedelt influisce sull esito finale Quanto tradisce lo spirito dell opera La materia oggettiva, ha una diffusione, un costo, e queste caratteristiche finiscono spesso per condizionare l opera d arte, al punto di condizionarne l aspetto simbolico Il colore azzurro della veste della Madonna deriva probabilmente dall utilizzo del colore che per tutto il medioevo e fino al 800 stato tra i pi preziosi e costosi, e ha condizionato la nostra percezione di purezza e santit Philip Ball ha raccolto in questo libro un lavoro monumentale, piacevole da leggere anche se a tratti inevitabilmente faticoso , ben documentato Sarebbe un libro da rileggere potendosi soffermare su tutte le riproduzioni dei quadri citati, io ho preferito cercare di seguire il filo del discorso immaginando, per non rompere il ritmo della narrazione.Da consigliare a tutte le persone curiose a cui piace l arte figurativa. You know how sometimes you go on a date with someone, and you feel like, ok, they had some interesting things to say, but you don t necessarily want to go out with them again That s how I feel about this book In the end, I gave up on reading this straight through, and ended up using the index to skip around There s some interesting facts in it, and I appreciate that, but the author s tone is a little too lofty for my tastes, and some of the information is definitely outdated For example, the author explicitly says, there is no reason to suppose that our ability to distinguish colors is limited by the structure of our color vocabulary , but this is directly contradicted by the latest research.There are some nice plates throughout the book, but I was disappointed that only one of the credited artists was non white, and that there were zero female artists whose work I could find represented in the plates This, despite the author s overwrought apologia about gender representation from the preface I have often used the masculine third person to denote a generic painter until the 20th century This is simply an attempt to be consistent with historical record female painters were usually such a rare exception that his or her would jar within the context Imagine me rolling my eyes and making the international hand gesture for Wanker here But he s not done We can deplore the inequities of early ages without trying to deny them But as you will see, some women were able to become painters even the most chauvinistic of times To which I can only say, Thanks, but No Thanks and maybe go fuck yourself while you re at it Because apparently you can deplore the inequities of earlier ages while also perpetuating them. Wow, this is the book I have needed for years Ball reminds me of John McPhee when he takes on a subject it is an all inclusive ride Ball is a chemist and an excellent writer with a wonderful understanding of art He takes apart color history going back to the Greeks and Egyptians and provides information on so many artists, painting and dying techniques up to the present He includes a whole chapter on Blue, another on purple He describes how colors were used in the renaissance, how alchemists created colors, and continues on through the 19th century to the present Even though Ball is British, he answered all color questions for me did the greeks have a bad sense of color, where did quinicridome come from, why was Matisse a fauvist, how does Munsell compare to Itten, are all paints today truly synthetic, how is enamel made, when did they stop grinding lapis lazuli for blue, what is a water based oil, how did the color field movement developall questions except, how did the Pantone color system start I still don t know, but he does describe the Colour Index International of 9000 pages listing all the colors manufactured today There is a wonderful bibliography of 125 books on color, a useful index and notes And what is happening to color and painting right now Everyone is looking for the newest technology to try out, as they always have, says Ball, with many examples including Turrell s use of light Ball ends with a quote from Van Gogh, The painter of the future is a colorist such as has never been seen before This is a faith restoring book. Bright Earth a book that I had no knowledge of except that it had ended up on my Reading List, and somehow thought was going to be a novel set in India turns out to be a history of the pigments used in artists paints It was an eye opener, even literally I suppose I had never really thought about the character of art being influenced by the available materials I hope I am not alone in having unthinkingly sort of assumed that all pigments were available to all artists everywhere, and that color choices in art were pretty much just a matter of culture and aesthetics I had another think coming.The book begins with a brief outline of the science, physics, and chemistry of color, then progressesor less chronologically from antiquity to the early 20th Century Then, there is an especially interesting chapter on how and why paintings decay over time and another on art prints in reproduction Ball closes with a pair of weaker but necessary chapters on new pigments in the paintings of the last 100 years and the use of color in newer, non painted media.It is in many ways a fun and thought provoking book Its strength, it must be said, is not in showing how the range of available of pigments in particular times and places influenced the history of art Ball often gestures towards this kind of analysis, but outside of a very few cut and dried examples the wealthier Renaissance patrons liked their painters to use a lot of Ultramarine because it was conspicuously expensive it turns out to be pretty tough to draw many strict causative arrows from the materials to what ended up getting painted Turns out that culture and aesthetics are pretty key, after all.Yet there is still a lot to like in the Ball s materials focused history It is, for one thing, rich in quirky anecdotes Chasing down the trail of paint history takes him through dazzlingly dense thickets of color linguistics, the lore and actual practice of alchemy, the early history of chemistry as a science, and the emergence of the chemical industry Throw in centuries of quirky artists, and you ve got a lot of great stories Ball tells them well and a skill lacking in many modern non fiction writers knows how to employ a long quotation to solid effect.Too, looking at the paint shows new aspects of the paintings I have, again naively, always thought of a painting being essentially a two dimensional array of colored fields and figures Ball shows how many pictorial effects are achieved through the layering of paints, with underpainting determining the overall tone of a piece and layers of translucent overpainting changing the character of a opaque original layer It literally adds a new dimension depth to my conception of the painted surface.Finally, for each historical period he covers, Ball tosses in a little capsule summary of the era s traditional art history While not strictly necessary for a history of paint, these are so apt and engagingly written that they are a welcome addition to the text Bright Earth is not, after all, a book with a powerfully argued thesis, nor does it provide anything like comprehensive coverage of any specific topic It s reallyof a scrapbook about paint, the painters who used them, and the industrial, proto industrial, and chemical processes that brought them into being It is an excellent leisure read for anyone who loves color, art, or looking at history from a new and unexpected angle.

Philip Ball born 1962 is an English science writer He holds a degree in chemistry from Oxford and a doctorate in physics from Bristol University He was an editor for the journal Nature for over 10 years He now writes a regular column in Chemistry World Ball s most popular book is the 2004 Critical Mass How One Things Leads to Another, winner of the 2005 Aventis Prize for Science Books It e

❰KINDLE❯ ❀ Bright Earth: Art and the Invention of Color Author Philip Ball –
  • Paperback
  • 382 pages
  • Bright Earth: Art and the Invention of Color
  • Philip Ball
  • English
  • 08 July 2017
  • 9780226036281

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