Magazine
Latest Issue

Rainbow technology

Colour is a language not just of the senses, but of the various substances - animal and mineral, cheap and priceless - which have produced them

By Justin Broackes   December 2002

Book: Bright Earth Author: Philip Ball Price: (Penguin, ?9.99)

Colours today are cheap, abundant and short on meaning. It is a far cry from the Florence of 1485, when Ghirlandaio was contracted to paint an Adoration of the Magi with an ultramarine that cost more per ounce than the artist’s monthly fee. Good colours were hard to come by, and were valued for themselves as much as for what they might represent. From all over Italy one might send to Venice for the best plant products and minerals; and Venice would have bought from the rest of the known world.…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect