Red: The History of a Color

Michel Pastoureau, Jody Gladding

Published by Princeton University Press 2016-12-02, 2016
ISBN 10: 0691172773 / ISBN 13: 9780691172774
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Synopsis: The color red has represented many things, from the life force and the divine to love, lust, and anger. Up through the Middle Ages, red held a place of privilege in the Western world. For many cultures, red was not just one color of many but rather the only color worthy enough to be used for social purposes. In some languages, the word for red was the same as the word for color. The first color developed for painting and dying, red became associated in antiquity with war, wealth, and power. In the medieval period, red held both religious significance, as the color of the blood of Christ and the fires of Hell, and secular meaning, as a symbol of love, glory, and beauty. Yet during the Protestant Reformation, red began to decline in status. Viewed as indecent and immoral and linked to luxury and the excesses of the Catholic Church, red fell out of favor. After the French Revolution, red gained new respect as the color of progressive movements and radical left-wing politics. In this beautifully illustrated book, Michel Pastoureau, the acclaimed author of Blue, Black, and Green, now masterfully navigates centuries of symbolism and complex meanings to present the fascinating and sometimes controversial history of the color red. Pastoureau illuminates red's evolution through a diverse selection of captivating images, including the cave paintings of Lascaux, the works of Renaissance masters, and the modern paintings and stained glass of Mark Rothko and Josef Albers.

Review: Praise for Michel Pastoureau's Blue "Pastoureau's text moves us through one fascinating area of activity after another. . . . The jacket, cover and end-papers of this luscious book are appropriately blue; its double-columned text breathes easily in the space of its pages; it is so well sewn it opens flat at any place; and fascinating, aptly chosen color plates, not confined to the title color, will please even those eyes denied the good luck of being blue." --William H. Gass, Los Angeles Times Book Review

Praise for Michel Pastoureau's Green "[C]omprehensive and lavishly illustrated." --Natalie Angier, New York Times

Praise for Michel Pastoureau's Green "[S]umptuously illustrated. . . . These are books to look at, but they are also books to read. . . . Individual colors find their being only in relation to each other, and their cultural force depends on the particular instance of their use. They have no separate life or essential meaning. They have been made to mean, and in these volumes that human endeavor has found its historian." --Michael Gorra, New York Review of Books

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Title: Red: The History of a Color
Publisher: Princeton University Press 2016-12-02
Publication Date: 2016
Book Condition: New

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