‘Re-working Recipes, Reconstructing Colour Worlds’, paper by Sven Dupré at the BLUE Workshop, 6 September, Paris
Taking ‘blue’ as its focus, the workshop ‘Intersecting Worlds of Colour in the 18th Century’ will explore the artistic, scientific, and social histories of colour in the eighteenth century, and above all, the intersections between them. What happens when artists’ colours are considered as interdisciplinary substances? What relationships exist, for instance, between a colour’s physico-chemical properties, its economic values, and its aesthetic qualities? How might these materials set histories of artworks in dialogue with histories of gesture and technique, or with social histories of the ‘art world’, in Howard Becker’s sense of the term? Where is colour in these multi-layered histories, and where do their narratives meet and diverge? Attending to Tim Ingold’s injunction to ‘follow the materials’, this workshop seeks micro-historical engagements that recontextualise the colour blue (as a material) by tracing it through the intersecting worlds of art, science, technology, and commerce across the long eighteenth century.
Concluding a research project – PaintItBlue – on ‘Matériaux anciens et patrimoniaux’, funded by the Île de France region, this interdisciplinary workshop will bring together art historians, historians, curators, scientists, and conservators in an effort to prompt new conversations about the histories of artists’ materials, while shaping rich methodological terrains through which to pursue them.