58 color plates
6 x 9
Azure, cobalt, cerulean, sapphire, indigo—these are the words for blue, a color that seems to overwhelm the other shades of our world with its all-encompassing presence. It is used to calm and bring peace, and it can refer to depression—feeling blue—or symbolize loyalty and faithfulness—true blue. Blue is ubiquitous: the color of the sea, the sky, and even our veins, it also appears in our language, our politics, our music, and our national identities. But what does our relationship with this omnipresent color mean? In Blue Mythologies, Carol Mavor presents a multifaceted exploration of the color blue, stripping the hue of its familiarity and giving it new significance.
Mavor takes us from the blue of a newborn baby’s eyes to the films of Derek Jarman and Krzysztof Kiéslowski, finding blue in science, religion, gender, sex, literature, and cinema. She regards its association with the Virgin Mary in Christianity, its coloring of the skin of the Hindi god Vishnu, and its use in Jewish garments as commanded by the Torah. She considers its status as the color for a baby boy, its use in slavery, and its manifestation in the natural world of birds and butterflies. Her thorough and engaging readings of these instances delve into blue’s meaning in our culture, revealing how it—paradoxically—is the color of optimism but also melancholy, heaven but also death by asphyxiation.
At once historical, sociological, literary and visual, the beautifully illustrated Blue Mythologies gives us a fresh and contemplative look into the traditions, tales, and connotations of those somethings blue.