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Bright Earth: The Invention of Colour [Paperback]

Philip Ball
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
RRP: £14.99
Price: £10.39 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 May 2008
Colour in art - as in life - is both inspiring and uplifting, but where does it come from? How have artists found new hues, and how have these influenced their work? Beginning with the ancients - when just a handful of pigments made up the artist's palette - and charting the discoveries and developments that have led to the many splendoured rainbow of modern paints, Bright Earth brings the story of colour spectacularly alive. Packed with anecdotes about lucky accidents and hapless misfortunes in the quests for new colours, it provides an entertaining and fascinating new perspective on the science of art.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (1 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099507137
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099507130
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

"Brilliant...in every sense. Ball's book is the volume that has been missing from my library" (Guardian)

"Brings the mysterious subject of colour wonderfully alive. Quite literally an eye-opener" (Economist)

"A succinct and elegantly structured new survey of Western painting. Ball pitches his learning just right between academic history and a highly readable series of anecdotes and biographical sketches" (Daily Mail)

"Full of fascinating vignettes. Philip Ball writes engagingly on complicated topics" (Sunday Telegraph)

"Scattered with attractive particles, sparkles with redolent names... A solid, well-researched compendium of information" (TLS)

Book Description

A timely reissue of a brilliant exploration of the science of art and of colour

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 9 Jan 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I don't know about "no greater tale", but this book is a fascinating tale about the science of colour and how colours have been used in art. Its strength is when it talks about the technology and development of colours for paints. Hence the sections on naturally occurring dyes and the development of man-made colours are the best. The final chapters are less interesting, reading at times like lists of art movements. I would have liked to have seen many more colour illustrations, but I suppose the cost would have been prohibitive. I wondered about the organisation, too: the book seemed to jump about a bit, and I found myself referring to the index a great deal to remind myself, say, exactly what Prussian blue was (I think this one was mentioned several times before it was first properly explained). But these are quibbles.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE best book on colour 6 Nov 2009
Format:Paperback
A quite excellent book, heartily recommended. I agree with nearly all the positive comments that previous reviewers have made. It is such a pleasure to read a book about colour that is factual, analytical, logical and based on science, compared with books on the subject written by people on the arts side, which can be inaccurate, woolly, and difficult to tie down. This is one of the few books that I have read 3 times. It does jump about a bit, but there's no other way to present a multidimensional array of info in a linear format.

I do hope that it reaches a second edition, in hardback, longer, with plenty of colour plates and produced to high standards. The author and we deserve it.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A glorious fusion of art and science 28 Aug 2008
By Nat
Format:Paperback
Philip Ball takes you on a fascinating journey of colour through the ages, from the ancient grinding of pigments to the digital creation of hues. You learn how paints and dyes were made and new colours discovered; how printing and photography evolved; the cultural and economic climate in which artists worked; and many more aspects of this ambitious theme. The book is full of quotes, facts, anecdotes, diagrams and copies of artwork. It is for anyone interested in art history, colour theory, chemistry, and materials. A very enjoyable read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bright Earth 2 April 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A book packed with information about all aspects of colour in art; from how ancient artists dealt with colour to the manufacture of pigments. It is an illuminating book, not at all pompously written but intelligently so. It was a fascinating aspect of the History of art in a paperback! Would recomend it to anyone seriously interested in painting, or even weekend sploshers!
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