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The Colour Blue – From paradise to poison

Thu 4th May 2023 @ 11:30 am - 12:30 pm

Lecture Description

Deep blue is the most popular colour in the world.  Perhaps it is redolent of velvety night skies and starry Summer evenings. It is thought to symbolize strength and wisdom. It has always stood for the cosmos and the Virgin Mary, as a colour of the intellect and spiritual healing and was the colour of heaven for the Ancient Egyptians. This colour, made from ground-down lapis lazuli that travelled over the Silk Route  from Afghanistan to Florence was more precious than gold.  On the great altarpieces it came to symbolize the wisdom of God. But in the search for a cheaper blue, an entirely artificial chemical compound led to a deeply sinister result. Fashionable though it was, Prussian Blue, used in the Prussian court and in fashionable portraiture was the same chemical compound as the deadly poison – cyanide. Prussic acid was a key ingredient of Zyklon B, the gas used in the extermination camps. Finally, there is a return to the glories of ultramarine in the stained glass windows of Chagall.

Lecturer: Hilary Guise

Hilary Hope Guise is Director of Art History for Florida State University on the London Campus. She has also taught courses for universities in North Carolina, Montana, Aix-en-Provence, and Cambridge University. She was an invited Guest Speaker in Classics at the International MENSA conference also held in Cambridge.   She has toured widely in the USA as Evelyn Wrench Speaker for the English-Speaking Union of America, and lectured for the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC.   She tours regularly for The Arts Societies around the UK and Europe, and has been as far as New Zealand on the Australasia circuit. She returns regularly to her home city of Cape Town to lecture at the University of Cape Town Summer School.  She has post-graduate degrees in Classics as well as in Fine Art, and combines a passionate love of Classical Greek culture, with a life-long career in the visual arts as a practising artist.                                                                                                                               

Her artwork can be seen on her website: www.hilaryguise.com through which you can also send a message.


Thu 4th May 2023
11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Event Category:


The Arts Society Blackmore Vale


Stalbridge Hall
Stalbridge Hall, Lower Road, Stalbridge
Sturminster Newton, Dorset DT10 2NF United Kingdom.
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