Tuesday, May 06, 2014


There’s a book written in the 1600’s that catalogues all the known colors.  It has a very complicated name: Traité des couleurs servant à la peinture à l'eau: “Treaty of Colors Known To Paint The Water.” It was written by a man named Boogert, whom we know little about. 

His handwriting was exquisite. 

He was perhaps Dutch. Much of his book is in French. 

The book is 800 pages long.

There is a butterfly on the frontispiece. 

The colors are separated by family and numbered rather than named. 

Were the colors to be named, would we know the names ourselves? Think of all the objects in Holland and France that have been lost in the last four hundred years. Think of all the objects that have been gained. The colors remain the same. That is perhaps true. We could argue about that forever. And by then, the names would have changed. As might the colors. Again, about this, we could argue.

Across from the butterfly is a man, drawing a drawing of a painting.

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