Speaker: Caroline Levisse
2 March 2021

Nowadays in the West the colour blue is immensely popular. From the colour of jeans to the UN and EU flags blue is a positive and consensual colour. However, it has not always been the case. In Ancient Rome blue was not a highly valued colour and in early Christianity Mary was not wearing a blue mantle. It is during the 12th century that in Europe blue progressively became a colour symbolically associated with the spiritual and divine.

This lecture retraces the story of blue in Western arts from Antiquity to the present day. We will reflect upon the changing meanings given to this colour and we will evoke the different materials used to create a whole range of blue pigments, from ultramarine and cobalt to Prussian blue and Yves Klein Blue. 

Caroline is an art historian based in London. She was born in France where she studied art history before moving to Copenhagen. In Denmark, she focused on research work and completed a PhD on the relations between art and religion in contemporary Scandinavian art. After graduating in 2013, she moved to London and started teaching art history with adult education providers. She has since developed a range of courses focusing on 19th and early 20th century Western art. She has published articles in French and English in academic journals as well as magazines and newspapers such as Church Times and Arts Sacrés.