Summary: If you want to know why a good blue was so hard to find for so long, or why printed reproductions rarely match the color of the originals, or why Rothko's canvases have changed color in only forty years, or just about anything else about the art and science involved in creating and using color, Bright Earth is the book for you. 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 museums.
Summary: If you want to know why a good blue was so hard to find for so long, or why printed reproductions rarely match the color of the originals, or why Rothko's canvases have changed color in only forty years, or just about anything else about the art and science involved in creating and using color, Bright Earth is the book for you. 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 museums. ...show less
Edition/Copyright:01 Cover: Paperback Publisher:University of Chicago Press Published: 04/28/2003 International: No
"Philip Ball . . . knows how to present an esoteric subject in accessible prose. Here he chronicles how colors evolved through art and science to become what they are today. He examines not only the nature of color and its origin but its use by artists, from the crude and elemental tones of Apelles, the court painter of Alexander the Great, to Andy Warhol, the court painter of his own court, with his displays of bold pink, citron, mad black and apple green."
--Alexander Theroux, Wall Street Journal
"Ball writes with authority about both sides of the equation, as apparently familiar with chemists as with artists. His view of art history is sometimes unconventionally enlightening because of this viewpoint."
--Christopher Andreae, Christian Science Monitor
"A wonderful new book. . . . Ball's canvas is grand yet effectively framed: how pigment materials have enhanced, and constrained, the 'coloristic possibilities' available to artists through the ages. . . . In his hands the history of pigment becomes a stained-glass window into the history of chemistry and materials science."
--Peter G. Brown, Scientific American
"In Bright Earth, Ball brilliantly traces the history of color from cave painting to abstract expressionism and beyond. . . . Bright Earth is a treasure trove of anecdote and information, surveying not only the history of art, the growth of industries it has created, and the lives of the artists who have served it, but also the physics of light and the physiology of the eye."
--Charles Matthews, San Jose Mercury News
"If the history of paint colors sounds a bit arcane and technical Bright Earth will set you straight in a hurry. Philip Ball's narrative of how colors were developed, and how this process affected the way artists work, is as captivating as a detective story. . . . Ball is admirably equipped to translate the raw science into compelling history. Better still, he's gracefully literate and, for the most part, nontechnical."
--Edward J. Sozanski, Philadelphia Inquirer
"Extensively researched and gracefully written, this book offers illuminating glimpses into an important and underappreciated facet of artmaking. It is likely to be the standard work on the development and myriad artistic commercial applications of color for some time to come."
--Stephen May, Washington Times
"Ball's shrewd, vividly written book chronicles the dance of cause and effect between scientific innovation and artistic expression from wall paintings of ancient Egypt to the pixel-built imagery of the World Wide Web."
--Thomas O'Sullivan, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
University of Chicago Press Publishing Web Site, February, 2004
View Table of Contents
Preface 1. The Eye of the Beholder The Scientist in the Studio 2. Plucking the Rainbow The Physics and Chemistry of Color 3. The Forge of Vulcan Color Technology in Antiquity 4. Secret Recipes Alchemy's Artistic Legacy 5. Masters of Light and Shadow The Glory of the Renaissance 6. Old Gold The Revival of an Austere Palette 7. The Prismatic Metals Synthetic Pigments and the Dawn of Color Chemistry 8. The Reign of Light Impressionism's Bright Impact 9. A Passion for Purple Dyes and the Industrialization of Color 10. Shades of Midnight The Problem of Blue 11. Time As Painter The Ever-Changing Canvas 12. Capturing Color How Art Appears in Reproduction 13. Mind Over Matter Color as Form in Modernism 14. Art for Art's Sake New Materials, New Horizons Notes Bibliography Index
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