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A Brief History of Blue

Image result for Hippopotame (Hippopotamus) , c. 3800-1700 BC Egyptian faience

Of all the colors, blue is the most liked by both men and women. It’s no surprise, then, that many artists—Louise Bourgeois, Yves Klein, and Wassily Kandinsky among them—have expressed preference for it. According to psychologists, the popularity of the hue may take root in our evolutionary development. In the hunting-and-gathering days, those drawn to positive things—like, say, clear skies and clean water—were more likely to survive, and, over time, this preference for the color blue may have become hard-wired.

Yet, scientifically speaking, the sky and the oceans aren’t really blue—or at least not in the same way the soil is brown or leaves are green. This posed a big problem for most of art history. You can’t take the blue of the sky, grind it up with a mortar and pestle, then throw it on a canvas. Unlike certain reds, browns, and yellows, blue pigment isn’t quite as easily made.

More on this Artsy article HERE


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 25th, 2017 01:00 pm (UTC)
What an adorable hippo!
Sep. 25th, 2017 05:53 pm (UTC)
I had to get a replica photo as the OP wouldn't let me copy/paste. It is rather lovely :-)
Sep. 25th, 2017 03:59 pm (UTC)
Oh, I love this little guy. He's Egyptian, I believe and a mascot for one of the NYC's museums
Sep. 25th, 2017 05:55 pm (UTC)
Yes - I found the article quite interesting and out of any of the photos featured, it was this little guy that caught my attention.
Sep. 25th, 2017 06:38 pm (UTC)
I remember wanting to buy my own little reproduction of him from a museum catalog, but it was too much in the $$ dept.
Sep. 26th, 2017 09:43 pm (UTC)
He is lovely and if it wasn't for the article, I wouldn't have known about him.
Sep. 26th, 2017 12:58 am (UTC)
His name is William and he's the 'mascot' of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I had to go find out. :D
Sep. 26th, 2017 09:44 pm (UTC)
He is cute - until the article had brought attention to him, I had never heard of him :-)
Sep. 25th, 2017 04:30 pm (UTC)
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Sep. 25th, 2017 05:55 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Bot :-)
Sep. 25th, 2017 04:47 pm (UTC)
You remind me of a Radiolab piece I heard a while back, about how blue is the last common color to get named, across cultures.

Sep. 25th, 2017 06:01 pm (UTC)
That was an interesting snippet. I wonder why blue was one of the last colours to be named in texts? You would have thought that Odysseus et al (or rather Homer) would have had blue in the detail, as skies are blue and not all sea states were green :-)
Sep. 25th, 2017 06:39 pm (UTC)
I know! It's quite something, to me. Makes me think about colors and our idea of distinctive colors differently.

I used to have blue Subaru some people called purple. It didn't seem purple to me. Like, no red in there I could spot.
Sep. 26th, 2017 09:48 pm (UTC)
I was talking about the subject with a more academically minded friend of mine who says that people from hundreds of years ago DID see the colour blue, but it was seen almost as a non colour. It was the more prominent colours that had names, because their out of the ordinary colour. They were more identifiable from the norm (I. e. sky/sea etc).

I have a problem with the green/yellow/blue end of the spectrum. I am not sure whether I categorise the colours differently or that I see the colour in a different way. If I am driving at night, the green light tends to look more blue to me.

Edited at 2017-09-26 09:52 pm (UTC)
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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