Janet Wolff

Colour (mainly blue)

Cennino Cennini, early 15th century: ‘Ultra marine blue is a colour illustrious, beautiful, and most perfect, beyond all other colours; one could not say anything about it, or do anything with it, that its quality would not still surpass.’

Goethe, 1810: ‘As the upper sky and distant mountains appear blue, so a blue surface seems to retire from us. But as we readily follow an agreeable object that flies from us, so we love to contemplate blue, not because it advances to us, but because it draws us after it.’

Kandinsky, 1911: ‘Blue is the typical heavenly colour. The ultimate feeling it creates is one of rest. When it sinks almost to black, it echoes a grief that is hardly human.’

Yves Klein, 1957: ‘What is blue? Blue is the invisible becoming visible… Blue has no dimensions. It “is” beyond the dimensions of which other colors partake.’

William Gass, 1976: ‘Praise is due blue, the preference of the bee.’

Julia Kristeva, 1977: ‘Thus all colors, but blue in particular, would have a noncentered or decentering effect, lessening both object identification and phenomenal fixation. They thereby return the subject to the archaic moment of its dialectic, that is, before the fixed, specular “I”.’

Derek Jarman, 1993: ‘Blue transcends the solemn geography of human limits.’

Blue image 2
Press release, 10 December 2007: ‘Pantone, Inc., the global authority on color and provider of professional color standards for the design industries, selected PANTONE 18-3943 Blue Iris, a beautifully balanced blue-purple, as the color of the year for 2008. Combining the stable and calming aspects of blue with the mystical and spiritual qualities of purple, Blue Iris satisfies the need for reassurance in a complex world, while adding a hint of mystery and excitement.’

pantone image 3
And, for good measure (and perhaps rather surprisingly), Michel Pastoureau, 2000: ‘All of the studies focusing on the “favorite color” question conducted since World War I show, with striking regularity, that more than half the people polled in Western Europe and the United States indicate that blue is their favorite color.’


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