The Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies at the Harvard Art Museums encompasses over 2,500 of the world’s rarest pigments. Museum director Edward Forbes started the collection at the turn of the 20th century, in order to preserve the early Italian paintings he had begun to collect. Over the years, the collection grew into a huge apothecary of bottles and beakers, as other art lovers and color experts donated their own pigments. Today the collection continues to grow, and regularly helps experts across the world to research and authenticate paintings.
Visually excavating the museums’ extraordinary collection, An Atlas of Rare & Familiar Colour examines the contained pigments and artefacts―their provenance, composition, symbology and application. It also explores the larger related fields of chromatics, the historical narratives of art and chemistry, and the innovations with which we have sought to better illustrate our aesthetic and expressive compulsions.
The book includes a foreword by renowned British color author Victoria Finlay.