We often forget that colors can have a historical past and are not just popular tones from Pantone’s spectrum. Our color of the month for this September is burnt umber, and it’s as historical of a color as you can get. Originally made from the earth found in the Umbria, a mountainous region in Italy, it’s a dark brown with a reddish/orange tint (due to the amount of iron oxide it has). It was one of the first pigments used in painting, tracing all the way back to the Neolithic period, and became very popular during the Baroque era for creating that chiaroscuro effect of the works of famous painters such as Caravaggio and Rembrandt.
“Chiaroscuro” – meaning light and dark – is an appropriate word to associate with burnt umber, it’s name is related to the Latin word for shadow – “umbra” – and is known for not being just one exact shade but different gradations. It’s a charismatic tone that operates both as a neutral and as a bold color depending on how you use it. But mostly, it takes us back to the earth and nature, to a more pastoral setting, something that is appropriate for this time of year.
Click on our slideshow to shop our top burnt umber picks!