From the Mediterranean to China, this imaginary journey evokes the indigo of textiles, the blue ceramics of the Ottoman Empire and Central Asia, turquoise and lapis-lazuli jewels, culminating with the famous China blue.
The exhibition invited visitors on a journey through space and time, through cultures and art described in its diverse forms of expression. More than forty modern and contemporary artists have been invited for this exhibition, which will subsequently be shown to the public in the Museum of Limoges.
While blue was regarded as a barbaric colour in Greek and Roman Antiquity, the East already used it in art as well as in everyday life, be it for religious rituals, dyeing textiles, decorating ceramics and glass, or the ornamentation of precious jewellery.
Known as anil, indigo gave its name to the Nile, the blue river of Egypt, where the colour was thought to bring good fortune in the afterlife. Turquoise was dedicated to Hathor, goddess of motherhood, and the god Horus pectoral is of a deep blue, symbolizing the healing eye as well as the sun.
In Persia, it was thought that the world rested on a sapphire giving the sky its radiance, while in ancient China blue was attributed the medicinal properties of the indigo plant and was used in the manufacture of paper, clothes and porcelain. The Tibetans, for their part, treasured turquoises as a charm protecting water and springs.
If the East has long regarded blue as endowed with certain virtues, curiously it was not until the 12th century that Europe gradually appreciated the colour, which hitherto had only been described in a poor language.
But since more modern times, Blue has found its rightful place in the West, to the point of becoming, ahead of red and green the worlds favourite colour, symbolizing dreams, wisdom and serenity. Henceforth, blue is ubiquitous: associated with the purity of water, the infinity of the heavens and seas, divine and royal right, work clothes and jeans of all generations, the works of Impressionist and Fauve artists to those of Matisse and Yves Klein. Blue is colour adorned with many attributes and there are countless expressions that give meaning to its thousands of shades.