By Michel Pastoureau
Black--favorite colour of monks and penitents, artists and ascetics, model designers and fascists--has continuously stood for powerfully hostile principles: authority and humility, sin and holiness, uprising and conformity, wealth and poverty, sturdy and undesirable. during this appealing and richly illustrated e-book, the acclaimed writer of Blue now tells the attention-grabbing social historical past of the colour black in Europe.
In the start was once black, Michel Pastoureau tells us. The archetypal colour of darkness and dying, black was once linked within the early Christian interval with hell and the satan but additionally with monastic advantage. within the medieval period, black grew to become the behavior of courtiers and a trademark of royal luxurious. Black took on new meanings for early sleek Europeans as they started to print phrases and pictures in black and white, and to soak up Isaac Newton's statement that black was once no colour in any case. in the course of the romantic interval, black was once melancholy's buddy, whereas within the 20th century black (and white) got here to dominate artwork, print, images, and picture, and was once eventually restored to the prestige of a real color.
For Pastoureau, the background of any colour needs to be a social heritage first since it is societies that provide colours every thing from their altering names to their altering meanings--and black is exemplary during this regard. In dyes, materials, and garments, and in portray and different paintings works, black has consistently been a forceful--and ambivalent--shaper of social, symbolic, and ideological that means in ecu societies.
With its amazing layout and compelling textual content, Black will satisfaction a person who's attracted to the historical past of favor, paintings, media, or design.