"There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun." -Pablo Picasso
I was in Italy earlier this month attending a broad range of events including the Biennial Cheese Fair in Bra, in Piedmont, home of the Slowfood Movement, where I took this photo. I didn’t get the name of the cheese, since there was a daunting array of over 900 unique cheeses to sample, most of which were unfamiliar to me. And there were over 130,000 visitors. (More on this show and Italy next week). Italians are fanatical about cheese. Formaggisti, if there is such a word in Italian. This much we know. But it seems they are also somewhat fanatical about the color yellow. In reviewing the numerous photos I took on this trip, I found yellow popping up repeatedly. Click here for examples.
I wasn’t searching for the color to photograph, it just appeared everywhere—in shots of vegetables, exterior walls, Prada boots, tablecloths, interior walls, laundry, pasta, pipes, and streetcars. There it was in Milan, Pietrasanta, Bra, Parma, Bologna, Pisa, and Mantova. And not just any yellow, but a hue that is warmed and softened with a little red, quite different than the harsh, acidic yellow that is most often used for public signs meant to warn us about traffic hazards, crime scenes, and so forth. Colors affect the way we feel, since they have powerful emotional triggers that are probably genome deep. They also say a lot about the cultures that use them. Most of us respond with pleasure to the generous autumn colors we see in the changing of the leaves this time of year. In Italy, they find a way to keep the spirit of this warm yellow present year ‘round, and they have for centuries. Is this one of the reasons the Italians seem to smile more than most other nationalities? Say “Cheese!”
Always in the hunt of images to add to our visual database, I would appreciate any images you would be willing to share that make a point on the cultural connections to color. You can send images to me here.
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