Bright Earth investigates how the invention of new pigments and colouring materials since times of antiquity have affected the course of Western art. The creative potential of painters has always been constrained by the colours on their palette. Renaissance and the emergence of Impressionism in the late nineteenth century, can be linked directly to the availability of new pigments.
Often neglected in studies of art history, the materials of the artist provide a new perspective on how art has evolved and how science, commerce, industry and art have interacted throughout the centuries.
A vibrant history of the evolution of color and how it was produced for artistic and commercial use details how the modern chemical industry was born out of the demand for color, and combines the themes of art and science to show the symbiotic relationsip between chemical technology and the use of color throughout time.
Viking (2001) ISBN 0-670-89346-3. Farrar Straus & Giroux (1 Feb. 2002). Reissued by Bodley Head in 2008