Introduction to a History of Color

Mar 08, 2020

Hello everyone! My name is Lieselotte Dubert and I would like to welcome you all to my Senior Project on the history of color! In the following weeks, I will embark on an in-depth study of the use of colored pigments in art. 

My interest in pigments came from my life-long love of art. I frequently use acrylic paint in my pieces and was always curious about the materials in it. When combined with my interest in science, there was a natural transition into the fields of art conservation and restoration.

Like most things in life, art is not immune to the effects of passing time. As the years pass, the materials degrade, colors fade, and layers fall apart. The fields of art restoration and conservation exist to counter these effects. However, we have not yet found the best way to address every sign of aging. Every piece, from paintings to manuscripts, has its own set of materials and unique mixtures used. Pigment sources and paint recipes have changed throughout history, leading to different compositions and thus different effects as the art ages. This variety makes it difficult to efficiently analyze and address the issues in a piece because every piece must be dissected for its components before any work can be done. This is where my research question comes in. If a detailed history of different pigments can be mapped out, conservationists can shorten their research time by filtering their tests to find the pigments known to be used during the time of the piece’s creation. By cutting down the possibilities, researchers can work more efficiently and more art can be preserved.

In my project, I will be studying the history of pigments through their discovery, use, sourcing, degradation, and more. I will collect this information on each pigment from modern and historical records as well as any available databases. I hope to use this research to create a comprehensive and in-depth paper and accompanying visualizations (such as timelines, maps, and charts). This can be used as a reference for current work and future research. However, because of the breadth of information I need to review and the depth of study I hope to reach, this is a lofty goal. So, as exciting as all the colors may be, my project will focus on only one — the color yellow.

One Reply to “Introduction to a History of Color”

  1. Katerina K. says:

    I look forward to hearing more about this colorful project!

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