- Pan Jun talks to Fik Meijer and Herman Pleij
Date: Thu 1 September Time: 01.00 pm Venue: BIBF
- The letters of Vincent van Gogh
Date: Thu 1 September Time: 02.00 pm Venue: BIBF
- Café Amsterdam I: 'Holland for beginners'
Date: Thu 1 September Time: 7:00 pm Venue: le Café, UCCA
Life and work
Herman Pleij lectures on Dutch historical literature at the University of Amsterdam. He has previously published the bestselling Het gilde van de Blauwe Schuit (‘The Guild of the Blue Barge’, 1979), about the rituals surrounding the celebration of carnival in the Middle Ages, and the critically-acclaimed De sneeuwpoppen van 1511 (‘The Snowmen of 1511’, 1988), about the irrepressible liveliness of late-medieval cities and the fading glory of the courts.
Van karmijn, purper en blauw：over kleuren van de middeleeuwen en daarna
Contrary to the drab images of the period popularized in the media today, parades of vibrant color were on display at every level of Medieval European society. Not only did clothing sport gaudy and often clashing colors, but food, statues, animals, even hair and beards flaunted the most brazen hues. Yet not everyone revered color; many believed it to be an ephemeral, worldly deception and a sign of immorality.
Towards the end of the Medieval period, perceptions of color became emblematic of broader cultural issues. Black and blue, primarily associated with asceticism, sorrowand humility, became the colors of royalty and the urban aristocracy, while bright, flashy colors came to be associated with the devil who, it was believed, had painted the world in tempting hues to lure humanity into sin and away from the path of eternal salvation. As a result, every Godfearing person began to avoid colorful displays, choosing instead more somber shades, a preference still seen today in the blacks and dark blues of our offices and boardrooms.
Colors Demonic and Divine looks at painting, fashion, poetry, heraldry, religion and history to tell the story of Medieval attitudes to color and the profound and pervasive influence they still have on our own societies.
Translation in Chinese
- Pleij, Herman. [Xie’e yu shensheng de secai. Zhongshiji yi zhihou de secai yunyi] Chinese / translated from English by Zhaoxia Zhang. Guangzhou: Flower City Publishing House, 2010. ISBN: 9787536060609.
- Pleij, Herman. [(Dromen van Cocagne)] Chinese / translated from Dutch. Beijing: China Social Sciences Press, in preparation since 2010.