The Secret Language of Color by Arielle Eckstut and Joann Eckstut


Goodreads: The Secret Languge of Color
Series: None
Source: Gift
Published: 2013


Divided into chapters on the science of color and the historical, cultural, and religious understandings of color, this book delves into questions such as why the sky is blue, why cardinals are red, and why your neighbor’s grass really does look greener.


This book provides a fascinating overview of the science, history, and culture of color, choosing not to talk much about art so it can instead focus on more overlooked applications.  From an explanation of why young artists cannot actually achieve all the colors from mixing red, blue, and yellow to a look at the religious significance of the color green, the book is full of fascinating tidbits and facts that are sure to astound.

It’s true that the book is rather introductory.  As someone with a background in chemistry, I especially felt that the sections dealing with the physics of color could have gone a little more in-depth.  However, I also recognize that the casual reader would probably find the explanations sufficient.  In other areas, however, I also wanted more explanation.  The authors often raise a tantalizing point, but then do not pursue it.  For example, they suggest a connection between the discovery of how to make a synthetic mauve die to WWII–but then don’t provide any details.  It can be incredibly disappointing to get ready for information that never comes.

Still, the book is still full of so much information that it seems impossible a reader wouldn’t learn something from perusing it.  And the visuals are absolutely gorgeous.  It’s important not to skimp on these in a book on color and the authors deliver, so I can’t complain about the price tag.  I would definitely recommend anyone take a flip through this book.

4 starsKrysta 64


2 thoughts on “The Secret Language of Color by Arielle Eckstut and Joann Eckstut

  1. looloolooweez says:

    This looks fascinating! I did a little research on historical pigments for a preservation class in grad school, and it was one of the most interesting subjects I’ve ever studied. This book is going on my TBR list.


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