Gold is the new black – Visual communication edition
Gold is cool. If you don’t agree you should definetely read this article, it will open your mind.
With this post I want to state once and for all that Gold, and more extensively golden, has exceeded the limits of jewellery jumping into every day life’s objects and becoming a very common choice for all kinds of designers in the time to come. To show you the validity of my position I will guide you through some relevant steps in the history of gold, by its use in visual arts, design and architecture, in order to show you that the boundaries which used to convict this precious material have now been blurred.
This post is the final one of a series of 3, and it is focused on visual communication. Ladies and gentleman get ready, as stated in the J’adore perfume commercial, the future is gold!
1323 B.C. – Golden Mask of King Tutankhamun was made in a gold inlaid with glass and semiprecious stones. Ancient Egyptians considered gold “the skin of the gods” – specifically the sun god Ra – and often used it to craft objects of spiritual significance. Obelisks, statues of gods and death masks are some of the objects the ancient Egyptians crafted from solid gold
1024 – During the Sack of Constantinople the Latin Crusaders vandalized valuable items in every important Byzantine structure of the city, including the golden mosaics of the Hagia Sophia. Byzantine church interiors were generally covered with golden mosaics. Mosaic art flourished in the Byzantine Empire from the 6th to the 15th centuries. The majority of Byzantine mosaics were destroyed without trace during wars and conquests, but the surviving remains still form a fine collection.
1271 – First cases of Venetian masks production for the Carnival, with documented schools and traditions. The material used were clay, gypsum, paper and fabric. After the manufacturing phase, the masks were colored and decorated with motifs, drawings, embroideries, beads and plumage. For the finest products, one of the colors used for decoration was gold.
1896 – 99 – One of the last “great gold rushes” was the Klondike Gold Rush in Canada’s Yukon Territory. The main goldfield was along the south flank of the Klondike River near its confluence with the Yukon River near what was to become Dawson City in Canada’s Yukon Territory but it also helped open up the relatively new US possession of Alaska to exploration and settlement and promoted the discovery of other gold finds. This gold rush immortalized in the novels of Jack London, and Charlie Chaplin’s film The Gold Rush. Robert William Service depicted with talent in his poetries the dramatic event of the Gold Rush, especially in the book The Trail of ’98.
1907 – Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (also called The Woman in Gold) was painted by Gustav Klimt. The first of two portraits Klimt painted of Bloch-Bauer, it has been referred to as the final and most fully representative work of his golden phase . Early in his artistic career, he was a successful painter of architectural decorations in a conventional manner. As he developed a more personal style, his work was the subject of controversy that culminated when the paintings he completed around 1900 for the ceiling of the Great Hall of the University of Vienna were criticized as pornographic. He subsequently accepted no more public commissions, but achieved a new success with the paintings of his “golden phase”, many of which include gold leaf.
1963 – Iron Man (Tony Stark) a fictional superhero, appears in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, as well as its associated media. The character was created by writer-editor Stan Lee, developed by scripter Larry Lieber, and designed by artists Don Heck and Jack Kirby. He made his first appearance in Tales of Suspense #39 (cover dated March 1963) but in Tales of Suspense #48 (Dec. 1963) he debut in his first red-and-gold suit of armour. From then till the latest movies the colors of the armour haven’t changed.
1966 – American Express issued its Gold Card. In the 1950s, American Express issued its first charge card, which caught on quickly in the booming postwar economy and signaled the company’s transition to a wider consumer base. In 1966, the company issued its first gold card, in an effort to cater to the upper echelon of business travel. Its platinum card debuted in 1984 and continues to be immensely popular as it is second in exclusivity only to the Centurion Card. American Express is now best known for its iconic Green, Gold, and Platinum charge cards, and offers credit cards of similar color levels in most countries.
1977 – In Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, C-3PO is introduced to the audience when C-3PO and R2-D2 are aboard the consular ship Tantive IV when it is attacked by Darth Vader’s Star DestroyerDevastator. C-3PO as well known is the golden humanoid robot character from the Star Wars universe, that had quickly become a worldwide icon.
1986 – first publication of Saint Seiya also known as Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac or simply Knights of the Zodiac, a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masami Kurumada.The story follows five mystical warriors called the “Saints” ( or “Knights” in some adaptations) who fight wearing sacred armours named “Cloths” the designs of which derive from the various constellations the characters have adopted as their destined guardian symbols, and empowered by a mystical energy called “Cosmo”. The Saints have sworn to defend the reincarnation of the Greek goddess Athena in her battle against other Olympian gods who want to dominate Earth. All the Gods, and later the Saints in the saga wear a Gold armour.
2000 – Since the early 2000 the major cosmetics brands started various marketing campaigns with the aim of creating a new standard for a perfect tan: a golden bronze. Before then the copper tone have been an icon for the past years and it is now replaced.
2001 – The French electronic music duo Daft Punk unveiles their robot outfit. In their more visible Discovery years, they appeared wearing robotic headgear and metallic gloves for publicity photo shoots, interviews, live shows and music videos. The helmets were produced by Paul Hahn of Daft Arts and the French directors Alex and Martin, the duo who also designed them. With engineering by Tony Gardner and Alterian, Inc., they are capable of various LED effects. Wigs were originally attached to both helmets, but the duo removed them just before the outfits were publicly unveiled in 2001. Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo’s robot suit is gold.
2012 – The reknown architecture and design blog Dezeen announces the opening of a Pinterest Board named Gold
“As gold medals are being awarded to athletes at the Olympic games, we’ve made a new Pinterest board featuring all the golden design and architecture from the pages of Dezeen.”
Seems that gold had become mainstream.
Author: Luca De Stefano