Colors Demonic and Divine
Over kleuren van de Middeleeuwen en daarna
Shades of Meaning in the Middle Ages and After
Contrary to the drab images of the period popularized in the media today, parades of vibrant color were on display at every level of Medieval European society. Not only did clothing sport gaudy and often clashing colors, but food, statues, animals, even hair and beards flaunted the most brazen hues. Yet not everyone revered color; many believed it to be an ephemeral, worldly deception and a sign of immorality.
Towards the end of the Medieval period, perceptions of color became emblematic of broader cultural issues. Black and blue, primarily associated with asceticism, sorrowand humility, became the colors of royalty and the urban aristocracy, while bright, flashy colors came to be associated with the devil who, it was believed, had painted the world in tempting hues to lure humanity into sin and away from the path of eternal salvation. As a result, every Godfearing person began to avoid colorful displays, choosing instead more somber shades, a preference still seen today in the blacks and dark blues of our offices and boardrooms.
Colors Demonic and Divine looks at painting, fashion, poetry, heraldry, religion and history to tell the story of Medieval attitudes to color and the profound and pervasive influence they still have on our own societies.