Color Traditions in Fine Art

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Color Traditions in Fine Art. Early Renaissance paintings were traditionally painted on wet plaster in a technique known as FRESCO. The pigments, mostly earth colors like ochres , umbers, charcoal, chalk, and pink or green clay were mixed with water and applied to wet plaster. . - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Color Traditions in Fine Art

Color Traditions in Fine Art

Giotto, 13th c Italian Renaissance painterEarly Renaissance paintings were traditionally painted on wet plaster in a technique known as FRESCO. The pigments, mostly earth colors like ochres, umbers, charcoal, chalk, and pink or green clay were mixed with water and applied to wet plaster.

Brighter colors, not water-based earth hues, were added later after mixing the pigments with glue or egg as a binder. These colors were less permanent, and more transparent. (note the difference in opacity between the brown cloaks and blue cloaks). Colors were blended to create shape and depth by painting two values next to one another, then lightly mixing by hatching. Most objects are a single color with a small range of values.

Michelangelo, Sistene Chapel before and after restorationAs these frescoes are restored, there is debate about the actual colors used. Were they originally intended to be subtler and somber, were the very bright hues only underpaintings, or were the dark tones just the effect of years of smoke and dust accumulation?

Oil became a medium for pigments around the 15th c, allowing for more brilliant, luminous colors. Still, most pigments were limited to earth-based hues: red madder, yellow ochre, terre-verte, iron oxide red, brown verdaccio, black, and ultramarine. This started a tradition of coloring objects and characters symbolically, preserving the most expensive pigments (blues) for the most important/spiritual figures: why we always see the Madonna in blue. Jan Van Eyck, Annunciation

These late renaissance paintings continued the tradition of limiting the hues within each object. Drawing and painting was separate: the image was carefully rendered, then each section was filled in with color and tone.

Titian, 16th c Venetian Painter, Considered color as a compositional element, and was known for expanding the palette and richness of colors. Delacroix tried to recreate natural lighting by juxtaposing bright, unmixed colors, allowing the viewers eye to blend them optically. This technique was known as BROKEN COLOR. No longer would an object be painted in simply shades and tints of a single hue. Eugene Delacroix, 1827

Barque of Dante

French Romantic painter

Impressionism sought to depict light phenomena as it existed in the world. Their movement was aided by the invention of tube paint-allowing them to bring materials into city streets or nature and work directly from life, rather than from studies in the studio. Claude Monet, Impression-Sunrise, 1872

Paul Gauguin, Day of the Gods, 1894Juxtaposed large areas of contrasting color to exaggerate those colors. Post-Impressionist movements: Fauvism

Fauvist painters eliminated all link to local color and used color soley as an expressive tool. Andre Derain, 1906

Matisse, Madam Matisse 1905These expressive color choices began to pave the way for abstraction and away from all naturalistic concerns in art.

Mark RothkoColor field painting sought to envelope the viewer in areas of color to provide and emotional response. Mark Rothko favored subtle edge transition, making color areas that seem to float and glow.

Barnett Newman was more interested in hard-edged geometric planes of color

Carl Andre, 1960Minimalism sought to reduce art to its purest forms: cubes, plinths, stacks. Similarly, color was reduced as well. Minimalists favored the colors inherent in the materials they used, or else chose simple, primary colors, colors that existed simply as color, and not as expressive or depictive elements.

Robert MorrisRobert Morris, 1964

Donald Judd, 1984

OP Art, emerged along with minimalism

Shared an interest in flat, un-modulated color and geometric forms. They used color and shape to create illusions of three-dimensional space and movement.

Favored contrasting, colors that created optical vibrationsVictor Vasarely

Or limited colors that create the illusion of color phantom hues

Op artists benefitted from the emergence of acrylic, allowing for flat, opaque, quick-drying paint with no blending. Bridget Riley

Bridget Riley

Industrial Colors: Linda Benglis, glow in the dark latex sculpture

Linda Benglis, Latex Floor Piece

George Sugarman, Powder-coated steel sculpture

Industrial Colors: Jim Lambie, electrical tape floor piece