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Color (2002)

de Victoria Finlay

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
1,773256,997 (3.92)95
Part travelogue, part narrative history, Colour unlocks the history of the colours of the rainbow, and reveals how paints came to be invented, discovered, traded and used. This remarkable and beautifully written book remembers a time when red paint was really the colour of blood, when orange was the poison pigment, blue as expensive as gold, and yellow made from the urine of cows force-fed with mangoes. It looks at how green was carried by yaks along the silk road, and how an entire nation was founded on the colour purple. Exciting, richly informative, and always surprising, Colour lifts the lid on the historical palette and unearths an astonishing wealth of stories about the quest for colours, and our efforts to understand them.… (mais)
  1. 30
    Bright Earth: Art and the Invention of Color de Philip Ball (EveleenM)
    EveleenM: The style of this book is dryer and more technical than that of Finlay's book, but I strongly recommend it for those who want more detailed background about the science of colour and pigments.
  2. 10
    The Lost Painting: The Quest for a Caravaggio Masterpiece de Jonathan Harr (fyrefly98)
    fyrefly98: Both fall into the category of "art history that's accessible to readers that know next-to-nothing about art history."
  3. 10
    A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire de Amy Butler Greenfield (EveleenM)
    EveleenM: This is a similar book, dealing specifically with cochineal red rather than a range of colours.
  4. 10
    Black: The History of a Color de Michel Pastoureau (Tanglewood)
  5. 00
    Verf (500.000 jaar verf en schilderkunst) de Monica Rotgans (EMS_24)
    EMS_24: History of the colors
  6. 00
    The Materials and Techniques of Medieval Painting de Daniel V. Thompson (waltzmn)
    waltzmn: A much more technical work than Finlay's, and now sadly dated from a scientific standpoint, Thompson's book, despite being rather short, is an easy-to-read and amazingly useful compendium of most of the materials used to draw and decorate the treasures that are our ancient and medieval manuscripts.… (mais)
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Dyes and pigments have been fairly interesting and important to me for a while--growing up, I lived pretty close to a Williamsburg-like living history museum, where I learned a fair bit about using natural dyes like black walnut and goldenrod that could be found or grown at the museum. Having appreciated them then and having read a book several years ago about the history of (in particular) the red cochineal dye, I was really excited when I learned about this book a while ago.

I definitely learned quite a bit about the history of dyes and similar materials from this book. It's arranged thematically by color, which chapters for all the colors of the rainbow as well as brown, black, and white. I think my favorite chapters were probably green, indigo (which has also always been one of my favorite materials to dye with), and purple. The purple chapter, right at the end of the book, was especially interesting to me because I'd known that snails were used for Roman dyes for a long time, and I really enjoyed learning about the process here.

Perhaps a major caution or just fyi that I'd like to add to this book, though, which keeps me from wanting to rate it higher is that not all of the book is quite what I'd expected--I'd gone into the book expecting information on the history of colors, which there definitely was, but the book was really more properly half history, half travelogue. Very substantial portions of each chapter are about the author traveling to India or Lebanon or Mexico or China or other places to physically visit places important in the history of different colors' dyestuffs. While I did enjoy parts of this, it really wasn't what I was expecting from the book, and I think I'd have been perfectly happy with a bit more focus on the colors and dyes themselves. ( )
  forsanolim | Jun 12, 2020 |
Ik hou altijd mijn hart vast als ik aan een ‘commodity history’ begin. In veel gevallen is dat een eindeloze opeenstapeling van feitjes en anekdotes, dikwijls zonder systematiek en – wat erger is - zonder kritische screening. Ik had slechte ervaringen met boeken van Mark Kurlansky (vooral dat over Zout). Maar dit lijkt me toch wel andere koek. Uiteraard is dit geen wetenschappelijk boek, en Finlay geeft dit ook toe. Alles bijeen is dit een heel gemengde afwisseling van wetenschappelijke informatie, reisverhalen, anekdotes en zelfs historische fictie. Alleen met dat laatste heb ik een probleem, bijvoorbeeld als ze zich voorstelt hoe een uit Spanje verdreven jood, vioolbouwer, eind 15de eeuw door Europa zwerft op zoek naar oranjekleurige vernis. Maar voor het overige staat dit boek voor heel aangename en erg informatieve lectuur, met meestal ook de nodige kritische zin.

Finlay opent de wondere wereld van de kleuren in die mate dat je voortaan niet meer onbevangen naar de kleurtextuur van voorwerpen kan kijken, er steekt altijd een hele, soms erg verrassende geschiedenis achter. “If you open up a box of paints, there are numerous such stories hidden inside it. They are stories of sacredness and profanity, of nostalgia and innovation, of secrecy and myth, of luxury and texture, of profit and loss, of fading and poison, of cruelty and greed, and of the determination of some people to let nothing stop them in the pursuit of beauty.”

De bijzondere insteek van Finlay is haar focus op traditionele, ambachtelijke verfstoffen: namelijk die die gewonnen werden uit pigmenten van planten, dieren, mineralen of gewoon grond, dikwijls na een heel intensieve bewerking waaraan geregeld ook verrotting te pas kwam. Het is een wondere wereld van geheime recepten, afgeschermde monopolies en soms intense handel over duizenden kilometers. Aan die hele machinerie kwam blijkbaar rond het midden van de 19de eeuw vrij plots en heel snel een einde aan, met de ontdekking van de synthetische verfstoffen, meestal gewonnen uit koolteer. Die hadden zo’n succes, en waren zoveel goedkoper, dat ze de traditionele verven bijna helemaal van de kaart veegden, waardoor veel van de aanmaak-recepten gewoon verdwenen. Mondjesmaat worden ze nu herontdekt, en ook dat brengt Finlay in beeld.

Een erg informatief boek dus, dat eigenlijk meer focust op verfstof dan echt op kleur, al bepaalt die laatste wel de indeling van het boek, over 10 bepalende kleuren. Ik heb er enorm veel van opgestoken. De enige grote tekortkoming die ik zie, is het gebrek aan illustraties, tenminste in de editie die ik had. Er zit wel een klein kleurenkatern bij, maar dat is ruim onvoldoende. Om het met een boutade te zeggen: dit boek schreeuwt om kleur! ( )
  bookomaniac | May 10, 2020 |
Some passages are infectious with her fascination for the colors (pigments) and the histories. However, there was a lot of fanciful "What if"-ing, when the facts were not available. Also, the huge chunks of history could have been broken down into something easier to digest. The section on lapiz lazuli in Afghanistan was such a terribly dry read.

---

Almost half a year later, finally finished reading this. Often found myself glossing over paragraphs, and had to take breaks to get my concentration back. Now and then my efforts would be rewarded with a dinner conversation-worthy fact. "Did you know that some sacred Jewish vestments are dyed with a pigment from un-kosher sources?" "Did you know that Victorian wallpaper had arsenic?" It's like sifting through so much river silt, to find the occasional shiny nugget. A little patience is required.

All in all, it certainly makes one pause before being able to answer the question, "So what's your favorite color?" I think out of all the histories presented here, my favorite would be the Red chapter, then section on gamboge, but probably because of its exposure on Radiolab. ( )
  mrsrobin | Jun 24, 2017 |
From the first evidence of art on Paleolithic cave walls using natural ochres to the complex processes of concocting dyes and pigments from insects, poisonous elements, rare minerals and mollusks, humans have been manipulating natural resources to create color. Author Victoria Finlay journeys the world over in search of the sources and stories of and processes used to create the traditional hues we have used in artistic expression and to brighten the world around us for millennia.

Fascinating and informative, this was a perfect -- though unintentional -- companion read to Bill Bryson's At Home. ( )
  ryner | Feb 22, 2016 |
This personal journey through the history of color is amazing!!! ( )
  rebeccar76 | Jun 24, 2015 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Victoria Finlayautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Dingler, C. LindaDesignerautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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For my parents, Jeannie and Patrick, who first showed me the place where light dances
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It was a sunny afternoon that still sparkled after earlier rain when I first entered Chartres cathedral.
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I had thought, when I set out on my travels—when I first tumbled through that paintbox—that I would somehow find, in the original stories of colors, something pure.
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There was once in China a secret color. It was so secret that it was said only royalty could own it.
(p. 245; chapter 7, "Green")
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UK title: "Colour: Travels through the Paintbox;" US title: "Color: A Natural History of the Palette"
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Part travelogue, part narrative history, Colour unlocks the history of the colours of the rainbow, and reveals how paints came to be invented, discovered, traded and used. This remarkable and beautifully written book remembers a time when red paint was really the colour of blood, when orange was the poison pigment, blue as expensive as gold, and yellow made from the urine of cows force-fed with mangoes. It looks at how green was carried by yaks along the silk road, and how an entire nation was founded on the colour purple. Exciting, richly informative, and always surprising, Colour lifts the lid on the historical palette and unearths an astonishing wealth of stories about the quest for colours, and our efforts to understand them.

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