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This title in other editions

Color: A Natural History of the Palette

by

Color: A Natural History of the Palette Cover

ISBN13: 9780812971422
ISBN10: 0812971426
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In this vivid and captivating journey through the colors of an artist's palette, Victoria Finlay takes us on an enthralling adventure around the world and through the ages, illuminating how the colors we choose to value have determined the history of culture itself.

How did the most precious color blue travel all the way from remote lapis mines in Afghanistan to Michelangelo's brush? What is the connection between brown paint and ancient Egyptian mummies? Why did Robin Hood wear Lincoln green? In Color, Finlay explores the physical materials that color our world, such as precious minerals and insect blood, as well as the social and political meanings that color has carried through time.

Roman emperors used to wear togas dyed with a purple color that was made from an odorous Lebanese shellfish — which probably meant their scent preceded them. In the eighteenth century, black dye was called logwood and grew along the Spanish Main. Some of the first indigo plantations were started in America, amazingly enough, by a seventeen-year-old girl named Eliza. And the popular van Gogh painting White Roses at Washington's National Gallery had to be renamed after a researcher discovered that the flowers were originally done in a pink paint that had faded nearly a century ago. Color is full of extraordinary people, events, and anecdotes — painted all the more dazzling by Finlay's engaging style.

Embark upon a thrilling adventure with this intrepid journalist as she travels on a donkey along ancient silk trade routes; with the Phoenicians sailing the Mediterranean in search of a special purple shell that garners wealth, sustenance, and prestige; with modern Chilean farmers breeding and bleeding insects for their viscous red blood. The colors that craft our world have never looked so bright.

Review:

"[A] blend of travelogue and historical exploration....Thanks to Finlay's impeccable reportorial skills and a remarkable degree of engagement, this is an utterly unique and fascinating read." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"A well-rounded exploration...from an engagingly personal vantage....A labor of love and a lifetime's interest expressed in a series of integrated essays that are substantial without being weighty." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Curious social mores, serendipitous science, and lots of skulduggery are all part of the rich spectrum Finlay so cheerfully illuminates." Donna Seaman, Booklist

Review:

"Loaded with fascinating tidbits, this portrait of colors and their histories will provide readers with lots of conversation-starters." Boston Herald

Review:

"In this engaging travelogue, a rainbow of hues determined the author's choice of destinations....By the time you read 'Violet,' you will have traversed much of the world, sharing Finlay's contagious fascination with color." Condé Nast Traveler

Review:

"This is a rare and wonderful book — a model of erudition and charm, the writing elegant and precise, and with at least one new and fascinating revelation on every single page. I could not be more enthusiastic." Simon Winchester, author of The Professor and the Madman

Review:

"Until I read this book, I was colorblind." Cynthia Rowley

Review:

"Color is the essence of landscape, of mood, of our whole perception of the physical world. Victoria Finlay has traveled through Iran, Afghanistan, and other places to investigate the origin of all those tantalizingly sensual ochers and reds and blues. What a creative idea for a book!" Robert D. Kaplan, author of The Ends of the Earth and Eastward to Tartary

Synopsis:

Discover the tantalizing true stories behind your favorite colors.

For example: Cleopatra used saffron—a source of the color yellow—for seduction. Extracted from an Afghan mine, the blue “ultramarine” paint used by Michelangelo was so expensive he couldnt afford to buy it himself. Since ancient times, carmine red—still found in lipsticks and Cherry Coke today—has come from the blood of insects.

About the Author

A British citizen living in Hong Kong, Victoria Finlay has worked for Reuters and was the arts editor for the South China Morning Post for four and a half years before leaving to write this book. She writes regularly about arts and travel for Hong Kong newspapers and international media.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 6 comments:

plyles, September 23, 2011 (view all comments by plyles)
Wow gives great insight!!!!!!
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closey, September 19, 2011 (view all comments by closey)
Great book for students with a mix of color and travel. Wonderful for teaching art basics.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
nicole d, September 13, 2011 (view all comments by nicole d)
Such a fun book for art lovers or armchair travelers. It combines a personal travelogue of journeys around the world with historical research on pigments, providing a fascinating perspective on art history.
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(2 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 6 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780812971422
Author:
Finlay, Victoria
Publisher:
Random House Trade
Subject:
General
Subject:
History - General
Subject:
History : General
Subject:
General History
Subject:
Art-History and Criticism
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Rh Trade PB
Publication Date:
December 30, 2003
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
8-PP COLOR PHOTO INSERT; MAP
Pages:
464
Dimensions:
8.2 x 5.5 x 1 in 0.8125 lb

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Art » Color Theory
Arts and Entertainment » Art » Color and Perspective
Arts and Entertainment » Art » History and Criticism
Arts and Entertainment » Art » Theory and Criticism
History and Social Science » World History » General

Color: A Natural History of the Palette New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$17.00 In Stock
Product details 464 pages Random House Trade - English 9780812971422 Reviews:
"Review" by , "[A] blend of travelogue and historical exploration....Thanks to Finlay's impeccable reportorial skills and a remarkable degree of engagement, this is an utterly unique and fascinating read."
"Review" by , "A well-rounded exploration...from an engagingly personal vantage....A labor of love and a lifetime's interest expressed in a series of integrated essays that are substantial without being weighty."
"Review" by , "Curious social mores, serendipitous science, and lots of skulduggery are all part of the rich spectrum Finlay so cheerfully illuminates."
"Review" by , "Loaded with fascinating tidbits, this portrait of colors and their histories will provide readers with lots of conversation-starters."
"Review" by , "In this engaging travelogue, a rainbow of hues determined the author's choice of destinations....By the time you read 'Violet,' you will have traversed much of the world, sharing Finlay's contagious fascination with color."
"Review" by , "This is a rare and wonderful book — a model of erudition and charm, the writing elegant and precise, and with at least one new and fascinating revelation on every single page. I could not be more enthusiastic."
"Review" by , "Until I read this book, I was colorblind."
"Review" by , "Color is the essence of landscape, of mood, of our whole perception of the physical world. Victoria Finlay has traveled through Iran, Afghanistan, and other places to investigate the origin of all those tantalizingly sensual ochers and reds and blues. What a creative idea for a book!"
"Synopsis" by , Discover the tantalizing true stories behind your favorite colors.

For example: Cleopatra used saffron—a source of the color yellow—for seduction. Extracted from an Afghan mine, the blue “ultramarine” paint used by Michelangelo was so expensive he couldnt afford to buy it himself. Since ancient times, carmine red—still found in lipsticks and Cherry Coke today—has come from the blood of insects.

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