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Michel Pastoureau, Le petit livre des couleurs, Points Seuil, 2005 (english translation)

Publié le par Interdisciplin'art


Texte en français : cliquer ici



This book was first published in L'Express in july and august 2004. This is a short study (120 pages) realized by the french historian and anthropologist specialized on the color problematics, Michel Pastoureau.


It's an original book because it's written in the form of a dialog between Michel Pastoureau and Dominique Simonet who's asking questions. The book is divided into seven chapters one for each color and the one for what the historian call "demi-couleurs" (semi colors).


The author, following Aristote, talks about six colors : blue, red, green, yellow, black and white. For each color, he shows the perception, the symbolism and he presents an historical, a geographical and a pluridisciplinary way which helps to understand the place of color in our society. He talks about historical evolution since Antiquity and references to others continents are used for comparison. Another aspect which is present is the ambiguity of symbolism and interpretations : all of them have a positive and a negative aspect in the collective inconscious depending of the periods.


The only little negative point concerns readers who would like study more precisaly the subject : reading this book raises so many questions that one's would like it bigger ! A tiny frustration attenuated in reading the two others books written by Michel Pastoureau on Blue and Black.


Thanks to his researchs, Michel Pastoureau revolutionizes this theme and the perception we can have on it. It's a passionnant area of research which is beyond disciplines, places and generations. The author is restoring and recreating things which are not existing anymore or were transformed. A difficult task that researchers could confirm.

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