COLLECTING
Thomaï Serdari on Fine Arts & Luxury
Blue Through the Centuries
Lapis Lazuli Desk Box. Courtesy of A La Vielle Russie, New York.

Lapis Lazuli Desk Box. Courtesy of A La Vielle Russie, New York.

The infinite, the mysterious, and the inaccessible have always fascinated us. When combined with the clarity and beauty of a deep blue sky they provoke feelings of awe and desire. At least, that’s what we learn about the color blue specifically and the origins of our enthrallment with it in an article by Natalie Angier in The New York Times today.

A quick overview of the history of art would prove that some of the most precious images had large quantities of blue in them—either depicting the sky or the garments of saints or royals. The Egyptians, Chinese, Mesoamericans, Greeks, and Romans gave exclusive access to the color blue to those at the top of the social echelon. The trend continued ever more powerful in Western art throughout the Renaissance and beyond, all the way through the work of the moderns in the twentieth century.

Today, our attitudes toward the color blue depend on our ideological position. The proponents of conceptual art (and un-art) usually dismiss works that appear heavier in their materiality rather than in their intent out of pure intellectual conviction. But for those of us who still value the nature of materials and their ability to express complex ideas, blue remains relevant. And so does the artistry of those who can work their ideas in structure, form, and color. Blue is king.

© Thomaï Serdari