Paris in the mid-18th century was a time of invention in the culinary arts. Food was an integral part of the fashion and culture of this bustling city. Haute cuisine has its foundations in this time and place. So for… More»
The vibrant blue in the above image of Saint George and the Dragon (Master of Buillebert de Mets, about 1450-55) still looks remarkably vivid to modern eyes, but to medieval readers it wouldn’t have just looked eye-catching—it would have looked expensive. Why? Because this particular blue pigment (ultramarine) required lapis lazuli, like the carved stone above (Roman, second century AD). For centuries all lapis was sourced from a single mountain range in Afghanistan, meaning that a French medieval manuscript with the color required a lot of financial resources!
For more on ultramarine and other shades of blue, check out The Brilliant History of Color in Art.
Both objects are from the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum.