The Brilliant History of Color in Art

“The Brilliant History of Color in Art”

By Victoria Finlay

The BrilliantHistoryofColorinArt

Colors may be all around us, but where do they come from and how were they made? Finlay’s book answers these question and more. Including 166 brilliant images from the J.Paul Getty Museum collections, it is written with style and brevity and is the perfect mix of art terms, fascinating trivia, and the stories about the struggles behind the discoveries of colors.


Did you know: In 1940 French teenager, Marcel Rabidat’s dog, Robot, discovered an entrance to a hole under a fallen tree. Marcel and his friends explored and became the first modern people to view the Lascaux Cave art, painted by artists from the Ice Age in tones of red, yellow, black, white, and brown.

Or that the ancient Egyptians ground up malachite, a green semi-precious stone, to wear as eye shadow, but not for cosmetic purposes. It served to protect their eyes from the sun’s glare, perhaps a prototype of sunscreen.


Or that in 1856 a chemistry student, William Perkins, experimented with coal tar as a possible cure for malaria. He failed miserably, but accidentally discovered the residue in his flasks to be a new shade of violet, mauve. Mauve also happened to be a stable dye so it rocketed to fame in the fashion world of the day.


Witty and informative, Finlay’s book will be an intriguing read and a great resource for students, teachers, artists or anyone interested in the world of art.

1 comment for “The Brilliant History of Color in Art

  1. June 29, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    This book makes you want to eat these colors!

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