Art Blogging 18: Book rec, Bright Earth by Philip Ball

A rather short post, but I wanted to recommend a particular book during this art blogging adventure. I’ve never enjoyed a book on theory so much as Bright Earth: Art and the Invention of Color by Philip Ball. Admittedly, I picked it up as a required reading for an art history class, but I’ve ended up recommending it to many people as a result.

51WA8R2PR0LRather than taking what I felt was a traditional textbook approach, this book looked at topics in chapters that read more as short stories or articles that could be absorbed independently of one another. This is a big draw for me as I rarely have time to sit and read through an entire book at once, and when it comes to non-fiction I tend to jump around and through subjects. “The Forge of Vulcan” was a particularly interesting chapter to me, looking at colour and pigment in antiquity, and “Shades of Midnight: The problem of blue” was also fantastic. I’m really invested in the history of blue pigments, it seems.

So if you’re looking for a taste of colour theory and art history mixed together in a really palatable read, give this book a try. It’s not super expensive (a new copy going for just under $15 on, note this is not an affiliate link) and most likely in a library near you. If you give it a read let me know what you think, and if you have any other colour theory books that stand out, please recommend them below!


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