BLUE, the infinite colour.
BLUE, the infinite colour.

BLUE, the infinite colour.

Lezarts takes you on a journey through the history of the colour blue in art from the Middle Ages to the present day.
This approach to colour, a central theme in the history of art, brings together different periods in a cross-disciplinary and entertaining way, with works of various kinds (paintings, drawings, manuscripts, objets d’art, sculptures).

                                                                                                      Sergiu Ciochina.

Appearance of the term “blue” and current usage
Where does the word “blue” come from? In the biblical texts in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, the only word used is “sapphire”, the favourite stone of the peoples of the Bible. The Romance languages drew on the Germanic word “blau” and the Arabic word “azraq”, and blue was often confused with grey and green. Paradoxically, one of the oldest forms of the word in the 12th century was “blo, bloe”: the English word “blue” therefore comes from French.


“Communication is health; communication is truth; communication is happiness.
Sharing is our duty; courageously diving in and bringing to light those hidden thoughts that are the sickest; concealing nothing, pretending nothing; if we are ignorant, admitting it; if we love our friends, letting them know it.”

Selected extracts from Virginia Woolf.

                                                                  Rafal Olbinski (Polish surrealist artists, born in 1943)


                                                                                                     Iranian enamels 


The colour blue, in its most popular shades such as Egyptian blue, ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, cerulean blue, Prussian blue and International Klein blue, has been the protagonist of different eras, during which timeless masterpieces have been created, ranging from the Egyptian world to contemporary art.


                                                                          “the little women “, Valérie  Hadida, Bronze


                                                                             Feeling blue, p𝗁𝗈𝗍𝗈  𝖠𝗅𝖾𝗑𝖺𝗇𝖽𝖾𝗋 𝖦𝗋𝖺𝖻𝖼𝗁𝗂𝗅𝖾𝗏 ©


                                                                                 Joan Miró, “Circus horse”, 1927.

                                  A dream, yes, that’s what it is, a dream, and as Miró painted, “this is the colour of my dreams”.


The palaces and gardens of the Marquises of Fronteira were built around 1670, and while the Italian influence is undeniable in their construction, many of the decorative elements are typically Portuguese, such as the many azulejos. It is the only private building from this period that can be visited in Lisbon.

chapelle azuleijos

The façade of the Chapel, built at the end of the 16th century, is adorned with a covering known as embrechados, made from gravel, shells, pieces of glass, mother-of-pearl and broken Chinese porcelain.


The gallery of niches decorated with busts of Portuguese and Spanish kings is known as the Terrace of the Kings.

A visit to the Palacio Fronteira is well worth a visit to the Tile Museum, so varied are the representations and models of the tiles.

                                                               “The bathroom”, stained glass window by Louis Barillet.

The “bathing establishments of Auteuil” built in 1929 by the architect Lucien Pollet in a liner style, and decorated with Art Deco stained glass windows by Louis Barillet.                       .


                                                                                              Samarcande, Ouzbékistan                    


                                                                                        Wassily Kandinsky, Skyblue, 1940

William de Morgan was one of the most famous tile designers of the Arts and Crafts movement, of which he was a founding member. Ceramic tiles, circa 1900.


                                                                                      Azulejos, Aveiro’s station, Portugal.


                                                                                                         Hiroshi Mirukami


                                                                                              Codech et Malavia, sculpture


                              In the Guggenheim’s little-known collections, a Mexican artist: Rufino Tamayo and “Heavenly Bodies” from 1946.

                                       Wonderful paintings by Cy Twombly for the opening exhibition of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, 2017.

The Virgin in prayer. This work in enamel on copper is part of an optical work conserved in the Musée de Cluny, produced by the artist Jean Penicaud, 1436.

                                                                         Blue Black and Grey, 1960, Georgia O’Keeffe

                                                                       “Blue Morning Glory”, Georgia O’Keeffe, 1935


                                                                                         Mummy of Inamonnefnebu

A net of blue earthenware cylinder beads covers the underlying shroud.
The bead mosaic motif consists of a winged scarab beetle on the throat, a necklace on the chest with blue and red cylindrical beads, a winged goddess on the abdomen and four sons of Horus on the thighs. Hieroglyphs on the lower legs read: An offering that the king gives to Osiris, lord of Aby[dos], that he grant a good burial.

Date: Thebes, Egypt, 700-650 BC

                                                            Blue Caryatid, Amedeo Modigliani, ca. 1913, blue pencil on paper                                                    


                                                       Let’s plunge into the blue sea with Miró and “La baigneuse”, 1924.

An absolute masterpiece. Everything is there to dream about: the horizon, the waves, a boat, the moon, the rays of sunlight, like hair, the sky merges with the waves.


                                                           Henri Matisse – (1869 – 1954), “Blue window” 1913, MOMA collection


                                                                           René Magritte, “Architecture in the Moonlight” 1956

                                                                                               With those we love,
                                                                                         We have stopped talking,
                                                                                                And it is not silence.

                                                                                    René Char (Eternity at Lourmarin), 196


                                                                  René Lalique, “Les Sirènes” bottle, 1905, lost wax technique. 


                                                                                        Yves Klein, SE 71, The Tree, large blue sponge, 1962

“Thanks to the sponges, I was going to be able to make portraits of the readers of my monochromes who, after having travelled through the blue of my paintings, return totally impregnated with sensitivity like sponges”. (Yves Klein)

After using sponges to apply colour, Yves Klein was captivated by their absorbent properties and decided to use them as his raw material. From 1959 onwards, it became the equivalent of monochrome in sculpture. In this work, the blue run-off mixed with the plaster freezes the process and propels the sponge into a state of artificial levitation. This tree, one of the artist’s most monumental, is one of his last works.

                                           Jo Tuck, Blue still life with fish, flowers and lemons, 2022. Oil on canvas, 61 x 76.2 cm


                                                                               Matthieu Forichon, French illustrator

                                                                                  Blue tulip vase1878 Cristal Daum                                                                          


                                                                                              Μarc Chagall, “blue lovers”, 1914


                             Sumptuous and luminous, New York in a stained glass window by Marc Chagall, 1977, Art Institute of Chicago.


                                                   Botticelli, Virgin and Child, 1467, kept at the Musée du Petit Palais, Avignon.


                                             Nude with blue background. Work by contemporary French painter Pierre Boncompain

                                                  A beautiful shade of blue for these Art Nouveau ceramic tiles from around 1900.


This photo shows the “Peace of Sarrebourg” stained glass window. It is also the largest stained glass window in the world by Chagall. One of his last too. 

chapelle Sarrebourg

Like all Chagall‘s stained glass windows, the one in the Sarrebourg chapel was created in the Simon workshop in Reims. It took master stained-glass artist Charles Marq two years (from 1974 to 1976) to complete. It is an exceptional work of art, set in the entire arch of the nave, where the choir ends.
Instead of closing in on itself, it opens out into the light.


                                                                                             Éliane Boivin, Lanzarote.

                                                                                 There will always be a trembling couple
                                                                             For whom that morning will be the first dawn
                                                                                There will always be water, wind and light
                                                                               Nothing passes after all but the passer-by.

                                                                                    Louis Aragon (Eyes and Memory)



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