Michel Pastoureau is Director of Studies at the Practical School of Advanced Studies where he holds the Chair in the History of Western Symbolism and is known throughout the world for his work on the history of colours.
Although the initial work of this ex-student of the Archivists’ and Librarians’ School was on the history of emblems (heraldic, sigillography and numismatic), Michel Pastoureau has been recognised for twenty or so years as the expert in the social history of colours in the West. He refers to a wide range of disciplines (religious, political, literary and artistic history, but also economics and dyeing techniques, heraldry or sociology) to illustrate what he puts forward: “It is society that makes colour [...] not the artist or the scholar; even less the biological apparatus of the human being or the spectacle of nature.” According to him, the history of a colour cannot be reduced to an archetypal causality, but is rather an integral part of “the mobile history of knowledge”.
Alongside some wide-ranging works on this issue, such as the Dictionnaires des couleurs de notre temps (Dictionary of Colours of Our Time) (1992), or the Petit livre des couleurs (Small Book of Colours) with Dominique Simonnet (2005), Michel Pastoureau has published some striking and very richly documented monographs. In 1991, he wrote L’Étoffe du Diable (The Devil’s Cloth), a history of stripes, then in 2002 Bleu, histoire d’une couleur (Blue, the History of a Colour). The huge success of this work in terms of bookshop sales confirm on the one hand the public’s interest in this issue, and on the other hand, as the author stated in his book, that blue really is the favourite colour of adults in the West...
In 2008, Michel Pastoureau published Noir, histoire d’une couleur (Black, the History of a Colour) (Seuil).
- Michel PASTOUREAU, President of the jury
- François BARRE, President of the Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire
- Chantal COLLEU-DUMOND, Director of the Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire
- Louis BENECH, Landscape architect
- Chilpéric de BOISCUILLE, Director of the National Higher Institute for Nature and Landscape in Blois
- Ariane DELILEZ, Secretary General of the French Landscape Federation
- Guillaume HENRION, President of the Parks and Gardens Association in the Centre Region
- Dominique MASSON, Consultant for Gardens and Landscapes, DRAC Centre (Regional Directorate for Cultural Affairs for the Centre Region)
- Michel PENA, Landscape architect, President of the French Landscape Federation
- Bernard WELCOMME, Director of the National Higher Institute for Landscape in Versailles
- Bernard CHAPUIS, Landscape architect and Gérard DOSBA, Head gardener, Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire