Over the Christmas holidays I had the good fortune to catch the Terry Frost exhibitions at The Exchange and Newlyn Art Gallery. I took advantage of the guided tour around each to understand more about his work (I bought the book too, but as its not in the library, I won’t review it!).
Terry Frost has inspired my love of colour and to see the paintings in real life and feel the vibrations of the careful placement of the colours was wonderful. So in my colourful mood, I’ve chosen Victoria Finlay’s The Brilliant History of Color in Art as book of the week, an easy and enlightening read aimed at anyone with an interest in colour.
The book is divided into 3 parts. The first, Earth and Fire, looks at colours from mineral pigments such as red ochre – the most common pigment in the universe. Part 2, Rocks, Minerals, Twigs and Bugs, looks at how colour is derived from them. Cochineal bugs had long been used to make red dye and in the 16th century it was discovered that it could be made into a useful paint. “Carmine”, as it was called, was used by artists such as Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci. The final part looks at Modern Colour, colours formed by synthetic means such as mauve, poisonous colours such as emerald green made bright due to the addition of arsenic and how mid twentieth century artists such as Rothko and Yves Klein chose to use colour.
There are many more books on colour in art in the University Library. Why not take a look on the catalogue or browse the shelves if you prefer – 701.8 is a good place to start.