Venetian Colour: Marble, Mosaic, Painting and Glass, 1250-1550

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Yale University Press, 1999 - Art - 247 pages
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From the Middle Ages to this day, the colours of Venice have cast their spell over visitors to the city and inspired artists as diverse as Rubens, Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Velazquez, Turner, and Monet. This book traces the origin of that enchantment by exploring for the first time Venetian colour in relation to social, cultural, and environmental forces. Italian Renaissance art historian Paul Hills shows how, between 1250 and 1550, the city of Venice and the luxuries manufactured and traded there prompted particular ways of attending to colour. He argues that Venetian colour - in buildings, table glass, and dress as well as paintings - was the product of a lagoon site and a mercantile culture. Illustrated with over one hundred and fifty works of art and architecture, the book analyzes the colored marbles and mosaics in San Marco, examines the achievements of the Murano glass makers of the fifteenth century, and focuses attention on Giovanni Bellini’s pictorial light and colour. Discussion of Renaissance dress and sumptuary regulations illuminates the social dimension of Venetian colour. The author shows, for example, how Titian’s portraits responded to new fashions in velvets, satins, and semi-translucent veils. In the final chapter Hills questions the traditional opposition of Florentine line to Venetian colour, suggesting that Titian’s bravura handling of the brushstroke was nurtured through his early experience of mosaics and woodcuts.
 

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Venetian colour: marble, mosaic, painting and glass, 1250-1550

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While the importance of color to the Venetian pictorial tradition has been almost endlessly observed and discoursed upon, never before has this critical topic received so wide-ranging, perceptive, and ... Read full review

Contents

Marbles and Mosaics
23
Polychromy in Early FifteenthCentury Architecture
57
Humanist Priorities Ornament and Representation
91
s Transparency Lucidezza and the Colours of Class
114
Pigments and Colour Preferences in the Time
133
_ratr inJ the Ris of the Picture
155
Silks Dyes and the Discrimination of Colours 14701530
173
The Triumph ot Tone and Macchia 20
201
Notes
227
Bibliography
236
Index
244
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