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Colour in Art (World of Art)

John Gage, Kelly Grovier


A wide-ranging and engaging introduction to the place and power of colour in life and art by John Gage, author of the award-winning Colour and Culture

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The complex phenomenon of colour has received detailed attention from the perspectives of physics, chemistry, physiology, psychology, linguistics and philosophy. However, the people who work most closely with colour – artists – have rarely been canvassed for their opinions on this mysterious subject.

John Gage sets out to address this omission by focusing on the thoughts and practices of artists. Colour in Art is concerned with the history of colour, but is not itself a history; instead each chapter develops a theme from a different scientific discipline, as seen from the viewpoint of such diverse artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Vincent van Gogh, Sonia Delaunay, Bridget Riley and Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri. Drawing on examples through the ages, from ancient times to the present, the many topics covered include flags, synaesthesia, Theosophy, theatre design, film, chromotherapy and chromophobia.

Featuring a new foreword by art writer Kelly Grovier outlining contemporary developments in the study of colour, and an updated bibliography, this new edition of this classic text offers a wide-ranging and engaging introduction to the place and power of colour in life and art.

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'A brilliant account ... The text is staggeringly erudite but accessible, and the illustrations are as varied as they are informative'
Sunday Times

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Edition Type: New Edition

Size: 21.0 x 15.0 cm

Extent: 232 pp

Illustrations: 193

Publication date: 7 September 2023

ISBN: 9780500297339

Contents List

1. Light from Colour – Colour from Light
2. A Psychology of Colour?
3. The Shape of Colour
4. The Health of Colours
5. Languages of Colour
6. Can Colours Signify?
7. The Union of the Senses
8. Colour Trouble
Illustration list

About the Author

John Gage was an acknowledged international authority on the history of art and colour, and wrote many books on the subject, including Colour and Meaning and the award-winning Colour and Culture, both published by Thames & Hudson. He was Head of the Department of History of Art at Cambridge University from 1992 to 1995. Kelly Grovier is a feature writer for BBC Culture and the author of several acclaimed studies on art, including A New Way of Seeing: The History of Art in 57 Works (2018) and The Art of Colour (2023), both published by Thames & Hudson