Colors of Art
The Story of Art in 80 Palettes
by Chloë Ashby
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Pub Date 30 Aug 2022 | Archive Date 08 Sep 2022
Quarto Publishing Group – White Lion, Frances Lincoln
Colors of Art takes the reader on a journey through history via 80 carefully curated artworks and their palettes. For these pieces, color is not only a tool (like a paintbrush or a canvas) but the fundamental secret to their success.
Color allows artists to express their individuality, evoke certain moods, and portray positive or negative subliminal messages. And throughout history the greatest of artists have experimented with new pigments and new technologies to lead movements and deliver masterpieces. But, as something so cardinal, we sometimes forget how poignant color palettes can be, and how much they can tell us.
When Vermeer painted The Milkmaid, the amount of ultramarine he could use was written in the contract. How did that affect how he used it? When Turner experimented with Indian Yellow, he captured roaring flames that brought his paintings to life. If he had used a more ordinary yellow, would he have created something so extraordinary? And how did Warhol throw away the rulebook to change what color could achieve?
Structured chronologically, Colors of Art provides a fun, intelligent, and visually engaging look at the greatest artistic palettes in art history – from Rafael’s use of perspective and Vermeer’s ultramarine, to Andy Warhol’s hot pinks, and Lisa Brice’s blue women.
Colors of Art offers a refreshing take on the subject and acts as a primer for artists, designers, and art lovers who want to look at art history from a different perspective.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 17 members
Those who love painting, color and art history are sure to delight in this book. Both readers who know a great deal about art history and those coming to this title out of curiosity will find much to enjoy here.
In her introduction, the author invites the reader to think about color. This includes imagining a world without it and also the many ways in which we take the colors that are seen each day for granted. Color and painting are inextricably intertwined. Artists choose their colors from the materials that are available to them in their historical period and are also influenced by their favorites or the demands of their patrons as Ms Ashby notes. It is fascinating to look at the results in these individual works and to admire the ways in which they were painted.
The book moves chronologically, beginning with the well known horse paintings that were found in a French cave long ago and ending in the modern day. For each work, there are a collection of swaths of the colors in the work and a high quality reproduction of the piece.
This is a book with which a reader could spend many hours. It can be read in chronological order or dipped into. Either way it is a worthwhile title filled with the sensibility of the author who provides this curated tour.
I received this book as an electronic advanced reader’s copy. I like it enough to want to purchase the book when it is published.
Many thanks to Quarto Publishing Group-White Lion, Frances Lincoln Books for this title. All opinions are my own.
Pub date: 30 August 2022
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