The myriad ways in which colour and light have been adapted and applied in the art, architecture, and material culture of past societies is the focus of this interdisciplinary volume. Light and colour’s iconographic, economic, and socio-cultural implications are considered by established and emerging scholars including art historians, archaeologists, and conservators, who address the variety of human experience of these sensory phenomena. In today’s world it is the norm for humans to be surrounded by strong, artificial colours, and even to see colour as perhaps an inessential or surface property of the objects around us. Similarly, electric lighting has provided the power and ability to illuminate and manipulate environments in increasingly unprecedented ways. In the context of such a saturated experience, it becomes difficult to identify what is universal, and what is culturally specific about the human experience of light and colour. Failing to do so, however, hinders the capacity to approach how they were experienced by people of centuries past. By means of case studies spanning a broad historical and geographical context and covering such diverse themes as architecture, cave art, the invention of metallurgy, and medieval manuscript illumination, the contributors to this volume provide an up-to-date discussion of these themes from a uniquely interdisciplinary perspective. The papers range in scope from the meaning of colour in European prehistoric art to the technical art of the glazed tiles of the Shah mosque in Isfahan. Their aim is to explore a multifarious range of evidence and to evaluate and illuminate what is a truly enigmatic topic in the history of art and visual culture.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Front matter i
List of Contributors xv
On Colour and Light
Chloë N. Duckworth and Anne E. Sassin
Symbolic Use of Colour in Easter Island (Rapa Nui) in its Polynesian Context
The Colourful World of Metal Invention in the 5th Millennium BCE Balkans
Late Bronze Age Manipulation of Light and Colour in Metal
By the Dawn’s Early Light: Colour, Light and Liminality in the Throne Room at Knossos
Tripping on the Fantastic Light: Reclaiming the Parthenon Marbles
Divine Light through Earthly Colours: Mediating Perception in Late Antique Churches
The Use of Colour in Romanesque Manuscript Illumination
Light and Colour in Portuguese Romanesque Churches: The Shaping of Space
Gold, Glass and Light: The Franciscan Vision in Representations of the Stigmata
Glints and Colours of Human Inwardness: Bartholomaeus de Bononia’s De luce and Contemporary Preaching
Light, the Dominicans and the Cult of St Thomas Aquinas
Tinted drawing: Translucency, Luminosity and lumen vitae
From Monochrome to Polychrome in Historical Persian Architecture: A Comparative Study of Light and Spatial Perception in Places of Worship
From Texts to Tiles: Sufi Colour Conceptualization in Safavid Persia
Chloë N. Duckworth is Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, University of Leicester, UK.
Anne E. Sassin is Honourary Research Fellow, Canterbury Christ Church University, UK.