The monthly ArtSmart Roundtable brings together some of the best art-focused travel blogs to post on a common theme. This month we are discussing Color. Check out all the stories below!
As the old saying goes – “Clothes make the man.” Nowhere is this more true than in Ancient Rome. They had a purple dye so rare and so valuable that wearing it was reserved for the elite. Eventually only the Emperor was allowed to wear full garments of this color, known as Tyrian purple. So where did this precious color come from? A sea snail native to Lebanon.
Emperor Justinian I wears a purple robe while his chief advisers have a broad stripe of purple in their garments. The Byzantines inherited the connection between purple and power. This mosaic is from Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna (Photo)
The East Coast of the US has been blasted with some terribly cold weather the last two weeks. To warm up, I’ve been digging through my summer photos! I’ve noticed a nice handful of picture in the genre of “Flowers & Old Stones.” There is something really beautiful about juxtaposing the rich texture of archaeological remains and colorful flowers.
It wasn’t until I visited Greece a few years ago that I really got a good look at live olive trees. Despite being an agricultural powerhouse, the trunk of the olive tree is twisted and deeply etched. The foliage is expansive but not dense. In the shade, the bark and leaves appear to have grey-blue undertones. These are visually interesting, complex and very hardy looking trees. With a new found appreciation for these Mediterranean wonders, a huge light-bulb went off at the (abridged) Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The olive tree was possibly the best subject in the natural world for Vincent van Gogh and has resulted in some of my new favorite paintings in this catalog.
By traveling in Greece and Turkey, I’ve learned a lot more about Classical art and architecture. I find myself describing the ancient sites I’ve seen and usually slip something in about how “bright and colorful” it must have been. That usually stops the conversation. No one believes that ancient Greek and Roman statues were painted! I myself am still trying to wrap my head around what that would have looked like. But it’s true, and now I have my own photographic evidence that statues were colorful: