This Color Can Be Dirty, Deceptive—and Divine

Cloth to Computers, Blue's Rich History Keeps Multiplying Its Meanings

The meaning of blue lies in its contradictions.

The color is associated with introversion and introspection, but it’s also associated with the expansiveness and openness of oceans and skies. It’s a sacred color in the world’s religions, but blue movies are obscene movies. And while the color can represent life in many ways, it’s also true that “when we die, we turn blue,” said art historian Carol Mavor. Blue, she added, “does seem to depend on a sense of paradox.”

The color and all its permutations were the subject of a …

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