Fickle as Charcoal

I don’t know, Hypothetical Corinthian Woman Who Drew a Portrait of Her Lover and Thus Invented Art. I kinda like the impermanent feel of charcoal…

Jan Blencowe, “Landscape with Castle”

Pencils are all very well, but our Corinthian artist would probably have rejected graphite. She was, we can assume, not out for profit but for permanence, and she was most likely looking for a nice stable ink instead of a fickle charcoal or an erasable pencil. Ink would be far more symbolic of the longevity of her love and, of course, would also be particularly useful for writing letters to her sailor on his foreign travels.

–Victoria Finlay, Color: A Natural History of the Palette


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