A Natural History of the Palette

Recommended by Jane Jelley, and 1 others. See all reviews

Ranked #15 in Art History, Ranked #17 in Artsee more rankings.

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 couldn’t 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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Jane Jelley If you’re going to do any kind of experimentation about a 17th-century painter, you’ve really got to know something about the materials they’re working with. One of the many books I looked at was Victoria Finlay’s. She not only documented what colours Vermeer used, she went to find them in the real world. So her book is a travelogue. She’s rushing around the world trying to find the source of particular pigments. (Source)

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