Humans and colours – midsummer-milano

Humans and colours

Ever since prehistoric times, the phenomenon of colours has always fascinated humans. In visual communication, humanity has made wide use of it, especially by searching for and identifying the best tones and shades of colour over time. For this reason, for centuries scientists and artists have played with pigments to produce colours, ultimately creating some that have become emblematic.

At first they worked by imitating or exploiting the elements available in nature, with time however, they started preferring the use of dyes synthesized in the laboratory. Although the chemical compositions have changed and evolved over time, the name to designate them (which was often linked to the mixtures used to produce them at the time) has remained conventional. For example, as reported by Ball, the Prussian blue, one of the oldest synthetic colours, was elaborated around 1706 by the Prussian chemist, Johann Jacob Diesbbach through the oxidation of ferrocyanide salts and which was initially used to dye fabrics and later used in painting. Within a few years this colour spread first in Europe and then internationally also because inexpensive and not toxic.

 Some painters have created new shades of colour and today, whose name is kept in their honour. An exemplary case is the green of the Spanish painter Velasquez (1599-1660). At that time, when landscape painting was in vogue among artists and each of them tried to create the most natural and real colours possible, the Iberian painter unable to find a green that satisfied him and therefore created "his" green with a mixture of blue and yellow ochre or yellow lead/tin. Other examples are red Titian, green Veronese and blue Klein. The latter artist soon decided to focus on a single tint, the blue: which was supposed to unify sky and earth and dissolve the plane of the horizon. It was in 1956 that he created what he himself called “the most perfect expression of blue”, an overseas saturated and bright blue, without alterations that was patented by himself under the name of International Klein Blue.

 

Source: Giulia Cesarini Argiroffo - “Neuroscienze"