City of Magenta, Lombardy, Italy

12.10.2012 @ SensationalColor

Magenta.10

As it turns out, the town of Magenta, and the eponymous battle was fought the same year that a synthetic aniline dye called fuchsine was invented. In fact, it was the first synthetic dye ever made – prior to this, all dyes had come from natural sources such as plants, animals and minerals. But as handmade rugs from the East gained popularity, the need for cheaper dyes that could be produced easily became a priority.

Shortly after this dye was invented, the color was renamed magenta. Now, here’s where the French come in. The color reminded someone – most likely the person who named it – of the uniforms worn by the Zouave troops of the French army that fought in the Battle of Magenta. There were no photographs at that time, naturally, but paintings of the Zouave troops as well as depictions of the battle featured their brightly colored, baggy pants.

 

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