Cerulean: Titian Blue

cerulean (adj.) Look up cerulean at Dictionary.com1660s, with -an + Latin caeruleus “blue, dark blue, blue-green,” perhaps dissimilated from caelulum, diminutive of caelum “heaven, sky,” of uncertain origin (see celestial). The Latin word was applied by Roman authors to the sky, the Mediterranean, and occasionally to leaves or fields. As a noun, from 1756.

What a wonderful, colourful word that can be applied equally to sea and sky, to leaves and fields.  I associate it with Titian blue, the blue that frames the hapless, helpless cries of Ariadne as Theseus sails away and the moment in which she glimpses the leaping figure of Bacchus, new-sprung from his chariot to rescue her.  Look at the blue of the water, of Ariadne’s robe and then the blue of the sky above – in which she already exists, transformed, as a crowning constellation of stars.

London National Gallery Top 20 09 Titian - Bacchus and Ariadne

I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.
e. e. cummings


About hickson1

Art historian, professor, Italian Renaissance and Baroque specialist, Italophile
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