Yellow : The History of a Color - the exhibition catalogue from Museum Bookstore available to buy at Museum Bookstore

Yellow : The History of a Color

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'a beautifully produced book and an impressive work of scholarship . . . it is a fascinating and sensual celebration of our complex love-hate relationship with what Goethe called this "joyous colour"' - The Guardian

A beautifully illustrated history of yellow from antiquity to the present

In this richly illustrated book, Michel Pastoureau -a renowned authority on the history of colour and the author of celebrated volumes on blue, black, green, and red- now traces the visual, social, and cultural history of yellow. Focusing on European societies, with comparisons from East Asia, India, Africa, and South America, Yellow tells the intriguing story of the colour's evolving place in art, religion, fashion, literature, and science. In Europe today, yellow is a discreet colour, little present in everyday life and rarely carrying great symbolism.

This has not always been the case. In antiquity, yellow was almost sacred, a symbol of light, warmth, and prosperity. It became highly ambivalent in medieval Europe: greenish yellow came to signify demonic sulphur and bile, the colour of forgers, lawless knights, Judas, and Lucifer-while warm yellow recalled honey and gold, serving as a sign of pleasure and abundance.

In Asia, yellow has generally had a positive meaning. In ancient China, yellow clothing was reserved for the emperor, while in India the color is associated with happiness. Above all, yellow is the colour of Buddhism, whose temple doors are marked with it.

Throughout, Pastoureau illuminates the history of yellow with a wealth of captivating images. With its striking design and compelling text, Yellow is a feast for the eye and mind.

  • Author: Michel Pastoureau
  • Hardcover: 240 pages | 135 colour illustrations
  • Date published: October 2019
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 978-0691198255
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 24.0 cm

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