Bright Earth

Bright Earth

Art and the Invention of Color

Book - 2002
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Baker & Taylor
A vibrant history of the evolution of color and how it was produced for artistic and commercial use details how the modern chemical industry was born out of the demand for color, and combines the themes of art and science to show the symbiotic relationsip between chemical technology and the use of color throughout time. 15,000 first printing.

Book News
This is the first American edition of a book published in 2001 by Penguin in Great Britain. Ball, a consulting editor for Nature who has degrees in chemistry and physics, researched many artists and aspects of paint to produce this ambitious and fascinating account of the history of the pigments used for paint. Windsor Newton, the Dutch Masters, the French Impressionists, Kandinsky, Turner, and the early color printer Jacob Christoph Le Blon are a few of the artists and producers of pigment whose use and development of color Ball details here. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

A fascinating study of the evolution of color in art and science from antiquity to the present.

For art in the twentieth century, medium is the message. Many artists offer works defined by their materials. In no aspect is this more strikingly demonstrated than in the use of color.

Bright Earth is the story of how color evolved and was produced for artistic and commercial use. The modern chemical industry was spawned and nurtured largely by the demand for color as many of today's major chemical companies began as manufacturers of aniline dye; advances in synthetic chemistry, both organic and inorganic, were stimulated in the nineteenth century by the quest for artificial colors. The future holds still more challenges for the color chemist, not only to provide new coloring materials, but also to replace old ones that will shortly become extinct, as concerns about the use of lead and cadmium pigments increase.

In Bright Earth, Philip Ball brings together the themes of art and science to show that chemical technology and the use of color in art have always existed in a symbiotic relationship that has shaped both their courses throughout history. By tracing their co-evolution, Ball reveals how art is more of a science, and science more of an art, than is commonly appreciated on either side of the fence.

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, [2002]
Edition: 1st American ed
ISBN: 9780374116798
Branch Call Number: 701.85 BAL
Characteristics: ix, 382 p., [24] p. of plates : ill. (chiefly col.) ; 24 cm


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