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The Power of Color: Five Centuries of European Painting

Marci Hall



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Yale University Press
15 May 2019
Art & Architecture; Theory of art; History of Art & Design Styles; Art techniques & principles
Revealing the power of color as physical medium, a key to interpretation, and a mediator of social and political change This expansive study of color illuminates the substance, context, and meaning of five centuries of European painting. Between the mid-15th and the mid-19th centuries, the materials of painting remained remarkably unchanged, but innovations in their use flourished. Technical discoveries facilitated new visual effects, political conditions prompted innovations, and economic changes shaped artists' strategies, especially as trade became global.

Marcia Hall explores how Michelangelo radically broke with his contemporaries' harmonizing use of color in favor of a highly saturated approach; how the robust art market and demand for affordable pictures in 17th-century Netherlands helped popularize subtly colored landscape paintings; how politics and color became entangled during the French Revolution; and how modern artists liberated color from representation as their own role transformed from manipulators of pigments to visionaries celebrated for their individual expression. Using insights from recent conservation studies, Hall captivates readers with fascinating details and developments in magnificent examples-from Botticelli and Titian to Van Gogh and Kandinsky-to weave an engaging analysis. Her insistence on the importance of examining technique and material to understand artistic meaning gives readers the tools to look at these paintings with fresh eyes.
By:   Marci Hall
Imprint:   Yale University Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 279mm,  Width: 216mm, 
ISBN:   9780300237191
ISBN 10:   0300237197
Pages:   304
Publication Date:   15 May 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Marcia B. Hall is professor of art history at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University.

Reviews for The Power of Color: Five Centuries of European Painting

[A] sumptuously illustrated survey -Barbara Kiser, Nature Marcia Hall covers a familiar historical path but in a way that encourages readers to look at works of art through a different and more subtle lens. She explains and illustrates her argument with wonderful clarity. -Jo Kirby, formerly Senior Scientific Officer, National Gallery, London Marcia Hall has written a wide-ranging, ambitious book that is the fruit of long reflection on the significance of color in early modern and modern Western painting. -Stuart Lingo, University of Washington This book would make an excellent addition to art history curricula, especially those built to expand students' interest and knowledge into materials and process-both key concepts for pursuing study in conservation and curatorial work. Hall's clear writing and ability to illustrate connections across time and space make this an excellent resource for a general audience. The extensive notes and bibliography will provide specialists with avenues for additional and deeper research. -L. L. Kriner, Berea College

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