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Hue Dichromatism Colourfulness chroma and saturation Tints and shades Lightness tone and value Grayscale. Ultramarine was made from lapis lazuli, from the mines of Badakshan , in the mountains of Afghanistan, near the source of the Oxus River. Persian miniature from the 16th century. Blue continued to be the colour of the field uniform of the US Army until , and is still the colour of the dress uniform.

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Blu & Blue is denim, redefined for kids. Our denim is ideal for babies and toddlers, tumbling about and exploring the world from the playground to your living room floor. Blu & Blue is like the limitless sky on a summer evening, blue like the pure and deep ocean, full of life and wonderment.
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Christmas Pajamas for the Family. Blue mosaic in the cloak of Christ in the Hagia Sophia church in Istanbul 13th century. Glazed stone-paste bowl from Persia 12th century. Decorated page of a Koran from Persia AD. Blue tile on the facade of the Friday Mosque in Herat , Afghanistan 15th century.

Persian miniature from the 16th century. Flower-pattern tile from Iznik , Turkey, from the second half of the 16th century. In the art and life of Europe during the early Middle Ages, blue played a minor role. The nobility wore red or purple, while only the poor wore blue clothing, coloured with poor-quality dyes made from the woad plant.

Blue played no part in the rich costumes of the clergy or the architecture or decoration of churches. He installed stained glass windows coloured with cobalt , which, combined with the light from the red glass, filled the church with a bluish violet light.

The church became the marvel of the Christian world, and the colour became known as the "bleu de Saint-Denis". In the years that followed even more elegant blue stained glass windows were installed in other churches, including at Chartres Cathedral and Sainte-Chapelle in Paris. Another important factor in the increased prestige of the colour blue in the 12th century was the veneration of the Virgin Mary , and a change in the colours used to depict her clothing.

In earlier centuries her robes had usually been painted in sombre black, grey, violet, dark green or dark blue. In the 12th century the Roma Catholic Church dictated that painters in Italy and the rest of Europe consequently to paint the Virgin Mary with the new most expensive pigment imported from Asia; ultramarine. Ultramarine was made from lapis lazuli, from the mines of Badakshan , in the mountains of Afghanistan, near the source of the Oxus River.

The mines were visited by Marco Polo in about ; he reported, "here is found a high mountain from which they extract the finest and most beautiful of blues. Ultramarine refined out the impurities through a long and difficult process, creating a rich and deep blue. It was called bleu outremer in French and blu oltremare in Italian, since it came from the other side of the sea.

It cost far more than any other colour, and it became the luxury colour for the Kings and Princes of Europe. This was copied by other nobles. Paintings of the mythical King Arthur began to show him dressed in blue.

The coat of arms of the kings of France became an azure or light blue shield, sprinkled with golden fleur-de-lis or lilies. Blue had come from obscurity to become the royal colour. Once blue became the colour of the king, it also became the colour of the wealthy and powerful in Europe. In the Middle Ages in France and to some extent in Italy, the dyeing of blue cloth was subject to license from the crown or state. In Italy, the dyeing of blue was assigned to a specific guild, the tintori di guado, and could not be done by anyone else without severe penalty.

The wearing of blue implied some dignity and some wealth. Besides ultramarine, several other blues were widely used in the Middle Ages and later in the Renaissance. Azurite , a form of copper carbonate, was often used as a substitute for ultramarine. The Romans used it under the name lapis armenius, or Armenian stone. The British called it azure of Amayne, or German azure. The Germans themselves called it bergblau, or mountain stone. It was mined in France, Hungary, Spain and Germany, and it made a pale blue with a hint of green, which was ideal for painting skies.

It was a favourite background colour of the German painter Albrecht Dürer. Another blue often used in the Middle Ages was called tournesol or folium. It was made from the plant Crozophora tinctoria , which grew in the south of France. It made a fine transparent blue valued in medieval manuscripts. Another common blue pigment was smalt , which was made by grinding blue cobalt glass into a fine powder.

It made a deep violet blue similar to ultramarine, and was vivid in frescoes, but it lost some of its brilliance in oil paintings. It became especially popular in the 17th century, when ultramarine was difficult to obtain. The Maesta by Duccio showed the Virgin Mary in a robe painted with ultramarine. Blue became the colour of holiness, virtue and humility.

In the Renaissance, a revolution occurred in painting; artists began to paint the world as it was actually seen, with perspective, depth, shadows, and light from a single source.

Artists had to adapt their use of blue to the new rules. In medieval paintings, blue was used to attract the attention of the viewer to the Virgin Mary, and identify her. In Renaissance paintings, artists tried to create harmonies between blue and red, lightening the blue with lead white paint and adding shadows and highlights.

Raphael was a master of this technique, carefully balancing the reds and the blues so no one colour dominated the picture. Ultramarine was the most prestigious blue of the Renaissance, and patrons sometimes specified that it be used in paintings they commissioned.

The contract for the Madone des Harpies by Andrea del Sarto required that the robe of the Virgin Mary be coloured with ultramarine costing "at least five good florins an ounce. Often painters or clients saved money by using less expensive blues, such as azurite smalt, or pigments made with indigo, but this sometimes caused problems.

Pigments made from azurite were less expensive, but tended to turn dark and green with time. The Virgin Mary's azurite blue robe has degraded into a greenish-black.

The introduction of oil painting changed the way colours looked and how they were used. Ultramarine pigment, for instance, was much darker when used in oil painting than when used in tempera painting, in frescoes.

To balance their colours, Renaissance artists like Raphael added white to lighten the ultramarine. The sombre dark blue robe of the Virgin Mary became a brilliant sky blue.

He also used layers of finely ground or coarsely ground ultramarine, which gave subtle variations to the blue. Giotto was one of the first Italian Renaissance painters to use ultramarine , here in the murals of the Arena Chapel in Padua circa Throughout the 14th and 15th centuries, the robes of the Virgin Mary were painted with ultramarine. Blue fills the picture. In the Madonna of the Meadow , Raphael used white to soften the ultramarine blue of Virgin Mary's robes to balance the red and blue, and to harmonise with the rest of the picture.

Titian used an ultramarine sky and robes to give depth and brilliance to his Bacchus and Ariadne — It was painted with less-expensive azurite. The Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry was the most important illuminated manuscript of the 15th century. The blue was the extravagantly expensive ultramarine.

In about the 9th century, Chinese artisans abandoned the Han blue colour they had used for centuries, and began to use cobalt blue , made with cobalt salts of alumina , to manufacture fine blue and white porcelain , The plates and vases were shaped, dried, the paint applied with a brush, covered with a clear glaze, then fired at a high temperature.

Beginning in the 14th century, this type of porcelain was exported in large quantity to Europe where it inspired a whole style of art, called Chinoiserie. European courts tried for many years to imitate Chinese blue and white porcelain, but only succeeded in the 18th century after a missionary brought the secret back from China.

Chinese blue and white porcelain from about , made in Jingdezhen, the porcelain centre of China. Exported to Europe, this porcelain launched the style of Chinoiserie.

A soft-paste porcelain vase made in Rouen , France, at the end of the 17th century, imitating Chinese blue and white. Eighteenth century blue and white pottery from Delft , in the Netherlands. Russian porcelain of the cobalt net pattern, made with cobalt blue pigment. This pattern, first produced in , was copied after a design made for Catherine the Great. While blue was an expensive and prestigious colour in European painting, it became a common colour for clothing during the Renaissance.

The rise of the colour blue in fashion in the 12th and 13th centuries led to a blue dye industry in several cities, notably Amiens , Toulouse , and Erfurt. They made a dye called pastel from woad , a plant common in Europe, which had been used to make blue dye by the Celts and German tribes.

Blue became a colour worn by domestics and artisans, not just nobles. In , when Pope Pius V listed the colours that could be used for ecclesiastical dress and for altar decoration, he excluded blue, because he considered it too common. The process of making blue with woad was long and noxious — it involved soaking the leaves of the plant for from three days to a week in human urine, ideally urine from men who had been drinking a great deal of alcohol, which was said to improve the colour.

The fabric was then soaked for a day in the resulting mixture, then put out in the sun, where as it dried it turned blue. The pastel industry was threatened in the 15th century by the arrival from India of the same dye indigo , obtained from a shrub widely grown in Asia. The Asian indigo dye precursors is more readily obtained. In , Vasco de Gama opened a trade route to import indigo from India to Europe.

In India, the indigo leaves were soaked in water, fermented, pressed into cakes, dried into bricks, then carried to the ports London, Marseille, Genoa, and Bruges. The countries with large and prosperous pastel industries tried to block the use of indigo. The German government outlawed the use of indigo in , describing it as a "pernicious, deceitful and corrosive substance, the Devil's dye. The efforts to block indigo were in vain; the quality of indigo blue was too high and the price too low for pastel made from woad to compete.

In both the French and German governments finally allowed the use of indigo. This ruined the dye industries in Toulouse and the other cities that produced pastel, but created a thriving new indigo commerce to seaports such as Bordeaux, Nantes and Marseille.

Another war of the blues took place at the end of the 19th century, between indigo and synthetic indigo, discovered in by the German chemist Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Adolf von Baeyer. The German chemical firm BASF put the new dye on the market in , in direct competition with the British-run indigo industry in India, which produced most of the world's indigo. In Britain sold ten thousand tons of natural indigo on the world market, while BASF sold six hundred tons of synthetic indigo.

The British industry cut prices and reduced the salaries of its workers, but it was unable to compete; the synthetic indigo was more pure, made a more lasting blue, and was not dependent upon good or bad harvests. In , India sold only tons of natural indigo, while BASF sold 22, tons of synthetic indigo.

In , more than 38, tons of synthetic indigo was produced, often for the production of blue jeans. Isatis tinctoria , or woad, was the main source of blue dye in Europe from ancient times until the arrival of indigo from Asia and America. It was processed into a paste called pastel. A woad mill in Thuringia , in Germany, in The woad industry was already on its way to extinction, unable to compete with indigo blue.

A Dutch tapestry from to The blue colour comes from woad. Indigofera tinctoria , a tropical shrub, is the main source of indigo dye. The chemical composition of indigo dye is the same as that of woad, but the colour is more intense. The leaf has been soaked in water, fermented, mixed with lye or another base, then pressed into cakes and dried, ready for export.

In the 17th century, Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg , was one of the first rulers to give his army blue uniforms. The reasons were economic; the German states were trying to protect their pastel dye industry against competition from imported indigo dye. When Brandenburg became the Kingdom of Prussia in , the uniform colour was adopted by the Prussian army. Most German soldiers wore dark blue uniforms until the First World War , with the exception of the Bavarians, who wore light blue.

Thanks in part to the availability of indigo dye, the 18th century saw the widespread use of blue military uniforms. Prior to , British naval officers simply wore upper-class civilian clothing and wigs. In , the British uniform for naval officers was officially established as an embroidered coat of the colour then called marine blue, now known as navy blue. In the late 18th century, the blue uniform became a symbol of liberty and revolution.

In October , even before the United States declared its independence, George Mason and one hundred Virginia neighbours of George Washington organised a voluntary militia unit the Fairfax County Independent Company of Volunteers and elected Washington the honorary commander. For their uniforms they chose blue and buff , the colours of the Whig Party , the opposition party in England, whose policies were supported by George Washington and many other patriots in the American colonies. When the Continental Army was established in at the outbreak of the American Revolution , the first Continental Congress declared that the official uniform colour would be brown, but this was not popular with many militias, whose officers were already wearing blue.

In the Congress asked George Washington to design a new uniform, and in Washington made the official colour of all uniforms blue and buff. Blue continued to be the colour of the field uniform of the US Army until , and is still the colour of the dress uniform.

In , the soldiers gradually changed their allegiance from the king to the people, and they played a leading role in the storming of the Bastille. After the fall of Bastille, a new armed force, the Garde Nationale , was formed under the command of the Marquis de Lafayette , who had served with George Washington in America.

Lafayette gave the Garde Nationale dark blue uniforms similar to those of the Continental Army. Blue became the colour of the revolutionary armies, opposed to the white uniforms of the Royalists and the Austrians. Napoleon Bonaparte abandoned many of the doctrines of the French Revolution but he kept blue as the uniform colour for his army, although he had great difficulty obtaining the blue dye, since the British controlled the seas and blocked the importation of indigo to France.

Napoleon was forced to dye uniforms with woad, which had an inferior blue colour. It was replaced with uniforms of a light blue-grey colour called horizon blue. Blue was the colour of liberty and revolution in the 18th century, but in the 19th it increasingly became the colour of government authority, the uniform colour of policemen and other public servants.

It was considered serious and authoritative, without being menacing. In , when Robert Peel created the first London Metropolitan Police , he made the colour of the uniform jacket a dark, almost black blue, to make the policemen look different from soldiers, who until then had patrolled the streets. The traditional blue jacket with silver buttons of the London "bobbie" was not abandoned until the mids, when it was replaced by a light blue shirt and a jumper or sweater of the colour officially known as NATO blue.

The New York City Police Department , modelled after the London Metropolitan Police, was created in , and in , they were officially given a navy blue uniform, the colour they wear today.

Navy blue is one of the most popular school uniform colors, with the Toronto Catholic District School Board adopting a dress code policy which requires students system-wide to wear white tops and navy blue bottoms.

Elector Frederic William of Brandenburg gave his soldiers blue uniforms engraving from When Brandenburg became the Kingdom of Prussia in , blue became the uniform colour of the Prussian Army. Uniform of a lieutenant in the Royal Navy Marine blue became the official colour of the Royal Navy uniform coat in George Washington chose blue and buff as the colours of the Continental Army uniform. They were the colours of the English Whig Party, which Washington admired. The cadets of the Ecole Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr , the French military academy, still wear the blue and red uniform of the French army before Metropolitan Police officers in Soho, London During the 17th and 18th centuries, chemists in Europe tried to discover a way to create synthetic blue pigments, avoiding the expense of importing and grinding lapis lazuli, azurite and other minerals.

The Egyptians had created a synthetic colour, Egyptian blue, three thousand years BC, but the formula had been lost. The Chinese had also created synthetic pigments, but the formula was not known in the west.

In a German druggist and pigment maker named Johann Jacob Diesbach accidentally discovered a new blue while experimenting with potassium and iron sulphides. The new colour was first called Berlin blue, but later became known as Prussian blue.

By it was being used by the French painter Antoine Watteau , and later his successor Nicolas Lancret. It became immensely popular for the manufacture of wallpaper, and in the 19th century was widely used by French impressionist painters. Beginning in the s, Prussian blue was imported into Japan through the port of Nagasaki. It was called bero-ai , or Berlin blue, and it became popular because it did not fade like traditional Japanese blue pigment, ai-gami , made from the dayflower.

Prussian blue was used by both Hokusai , in his famous wave paintings, and Hiroshige. In the Societé pour l'Encouragement d'Industrie in France offered a prize for the invention of an artificial ultramarine which could rival the natural colour made from lapis lazuli. The prize was won in by a chemist named Jean Baptiste Guimet, but he refused to reveal the formula of his colour.

In , another scientist, Christian Gmelin then a professor of chemistry in Tübingen, found the process and published his formula. This was the beginning of new industry to manufacture artificial ultramarine, which eventually almost completely replaced the natural product. In a German chemist named a. Von Baeyer discovered a synthetic substitute for indigotine , the active ingredient of indigo. This product gradually replaced natural indigo, and after the end of the First World War, it brought an end to the trade of indigo from the East and West Indies.

In a new synthetic blue dye, called Indanthrone blue , was invented, which had even greater resistance to fading during washing or in the sun. This dye gradually replaced artificial indigo, whose production ceased in about Today almost all blue clothing is dyed with an indanthrone blue.

Thomas Gainsborough 's The Blue Boy includes "the lavish lapis lazuli, the darker indigo pigment and the paler cobalt. The 19th-century Japanese woodblock artist Hokusai used Prussian blue , a synthetic colour imported from Europe, in his wave paintings, such as in The Great Wave off Kanagawa. A synthetic indigo dye factory in Germany in The manufacture of this dye ended the trade in indigo from America and India that had begun in the 15th century.

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