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Color and Culture: Practice and Meaning from Antiquity to Abstraction Paperback – August 3, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0520222250 ISBN-10: 0520222253 Edition: 1st
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Color and Culture: Practice and Meaning from Antiquity to Abstraction + Color and Meaning: Art, Science, and Symbolism + The Secret Language of Color: Science, Nature, History, Culture, Beauty of Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, & Violet
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this searching, dazzlingly illustrated investigation of the experience of color in the West, Cambridge University art historian Gage explores color as a language of emotions, psychological meaning and religious significance. His 14 scholarly yet accessible essays, accompanied by 223 plates (more than half of which are in color), are full of arcane and wondrous lore, from ancient Rome's cult of purple (a hue associated with the ruling elite) to the symbology of rainbows, perceived correspondences between colors and music, and color symbolism in heraldry and alchemy. Certain themes re-emerge, such as the impact of color scientists Goethe and Newton on artists like Turner and Surat, and the popular notion of the Orient as a repository of colored, exotic stimuli and attitudes. The magnificent plates range from a fourth-century Egyptian mummy portrait to the color experiments of Kandinsky, Mondrian, Helen Frankenthaler, Sonia Delaunay, Kenneth Noland and Josef Albers.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This book contains everything you wanted to know about color as a cultural construct, physical and optical property, and theoretical problem. Gage (art, Cambridge Univ.; J.M.W. Turner , LJ 7/87) has ranged very widely and come up with an extremely inclusive book dealing with nearly every Western, historical, and perceptual aspect of color. Trained at the Courtauld Institute of Art, Gage has an artist's direct sense of color and communicates it well in his writing, even when the illustration is in black and white. He has written a fascinating survey of this universal--but very subjective--aspect of art; no other title compares in depth and scope to this work. Recommended for general collections as well as for specialists, who will find much of interest in Gage's bibliographical excavations and careful looking.
- Jack Perry Brown, Art Inst. of Chicago Lib.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 335 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1st edition (August 3, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520222253
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520222250
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #825,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Darlene L. Swaim on March 7, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is an excellant source of palette development, pigment uses and development as well as color theories throughout history. My students have worn out my copy -- needs to be reprinted and made known in college art departments. Good, solid informational writing and illustrations. A must-have book for artists and students. D. Swaim, Prof., M.C.C., Arizona
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Femke on January 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book shows you all you want to know about colours. It's not truly scientific but it showed me the best and most of colour-theory. I had some trouble with the science-language but hey, I'm Dutch, not a native "American" speaker! The only thing that I would change in this book is more pictures, and all in colour!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Susanna Banks Baum on October 13, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I can't say much about this book because I am continually blown away by the dense, complete and inspirational writings on color. The examples are stunning. I use them as color studies in my work. I copy out passages in to my artist books. I share what I read with my friends who are similarly intrigued by color. As an artist, this book is a valuable resource. I recommend it highly to anyone who is interested in the history of how we see and think about color.
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19 of 30 people found the following review helpful By French Bulldog on March 18, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While I won't go to the trouble of selling this book, I do regret having purchased it. There are many other texts that do a much more nuanced and cogent exposition of the relationship between color and culture. My future use of this book will be as a visual reference, i.e. to refer to the various paintings and other works gorgeously reproduced in color.

Otherwise, Gage's Color and Culture as well as Color and Meaning are best used as "intelligent" coffee table tomes.
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