“The deeper the blue becomes, the more strongly it calls man towards the infinite, awakening in him a desire for the pure and, finally, for the supernatural...” Wassily Kandinsky
Until relatively recently in human history, “blue” didn’t exist- at least not in the way we think of it. Early mankind yearned to speak the language of the sky and ocean, but had no way to render the color with meager earthbound pigments. It was only just a matter of time until the color blue; elusive, soothing, and supernatural, would change the course of human vision forever.
In the Ancient Greek tale“The Odyssey,” Homer famously fumbles at identifying the color blue as the “wine-dark sea.” Even though Homer’s words beguiled readers, the color still remained beyond imagination. Ancient Greece was a muddled, murky world. Whites, yellows, metallics, and browns were the only utterances of colorful jargon in their civilization. That is until the Lapis Lazuli slowly meandered through the trade routes of Afghanistan, landing into the hands of one of the Ancient World’s most powerful queens.
It took 6,000 years to travel onto the eyelids and embellished gowns of Cleopatra. When she wasn’t powdering her eyes with ground up Lapis Lazuli pigments, she ordered the color be adorned on the tombs of her most powerful colleagues to protect them in the afterlife. But she wasn’t the only one to covet and capture the already millenia old tinctures.
The maverick Marco Polo, inspired by Homer and Cleopatra’s exploits, journeyed to Afghanistan in the 13th century only to discover mysterious blue-tinged pigments inside the mines of the Kokeha Valley. Fascinated, the young explorer collected an insurmountable supply of the variegate. It’s as if he somehow knew the color would change the course of art, trade, and commerce forever.
With that, Marco Polo swiftly trekked home wowing Venetian revelers and silencing his naysayers by delivering an astronomical supply of what he coined “ultra-marine” pigments to the ports of Venice.
Ultramarine, literally meaning ‘over-seas’-forever impacted Western Europe’s most innovative artists, merchants, and craftsmen of Marco Polo’s time and beyond. Thus, began the modern age of ultramarine’s transformation into blue.
Whether its Krishna dancing comfortably in his own blue skin, or worn as a symbol of public service in ancient Rome, its historical presence is hard to deny.
From the Industrial Revolution deep into the 21st Century, blue has syphoned itself onto the uniforms of international militaries, the navy, and on international peacekeeping troops.
As late as 1915 “Bright Blue” became an official color in Britain. Former Editrix of Vogue, Diana Vreeland, said “Blue jeans are the most beautiful things since the gondola.”
Picasso paid homage to the color with his Blue Period, and now in the 21st Century, Damien Hirst’s “No Love Lost, Blue Paintings,” has further immortalized the color into it’s own coming of age.
Today, TSAR has given the color that symbolizes peace, universal dignity, blue note jazz, and loyalty its own decorative and bespoke voice.
Any shade of blue, ultramarine, lapis, cobalt, or azure can be obtained from the Tsar House Collection, or custom made to compliment your artworks, interiors, and soft furnishings.
At TSAR we admire how blue has weaved its cacophonous web of scarcity and celebration throughout human history. That’s why as TSAR’s Color of the Month for June, we venture to unleash and unveil the mystery that is blue under your feet and into your imagination today, tomorrow, and for the future to come.