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COLOR and its use by Artists

In our last blog post, we discussed about COLOR and its use in paintings by different artists. Although there cannot be a painting without color, and most often it might seem that it is used at random or as nature dictates, many different reasons and purposes exist for their use.

Let us now consider some paintings, and the underlying use of color behind them, to illustrate this point.

 

When painting the medium of water, the color most often used is blue or variations of it, the main reason being that this is the color visible in its natural state. But think about it, water is actually colorless and only reflects the color of its surroundings, predominantly blue since that is the sky’s color. Artists understand this concept and therefore oftentimes use different colors to reflect water, based on the surroundings and what they want to express through that particular painting.

In Leonid Afremov’s painting, the LONG SAIL, the color red is very distinctly painted using a palette knife, reflecting sunset and the play of light and shadow on the choppy waters.

LONG SAIL, Leonid Afremov

LONG SAIL, Leonid Afremov

Claude Monet’s BRIDGE OVER A POND OF WATER LILLIES, depicts water in a uniform palette of green. The artist’s fascination with water lilies produced varied and well distinguished works throughout his life, and the use of this particular color and its variations in the painting is the way he saw his surroundings during a particular time of the day.

Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies, Claude Monet

BRIDGE OVER A POND OF WATER LILLIES, Claude Monet

 

Anger as an emotion is strong, deep and vibrant. Red is the predominant color used to represent this fiery, passionate emotion.  But artists have interpreted this anger in their own ways, using different colors to reflect it. Chinese artist Ang Kiukok, known for his radical art in the ‘60’s, used cubist figures in beige and browns to document the terror and angst of his time. The figures are stark, hard-hitting and display raw emotion.

PIETA, Ang Kiukok

PIETA, Ang Kiukok

Pablo Piccasso’s GUERNICA, considered his most famous painting of all time, was the artist’s way of exhibiting his anger against the German bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. Painted in an analytical cubist style, it is done in a two-toned neutral palette, where the figures stand out with powerful facial expressions, and which need no strong colors or flamboyant styles to highlight them.

GUERNICA, Pablo Picasso

GUERNICA, Pablo Picasso

 

Many artists through the ages, have considered the subject of a Mother and Child as deeply powerful, and symbolic of an eternal and pure love. This has been beautifully represented through different media and forms. Since the mother figure has most often been represented by The Blessed Virgin Mary from the Bible, she is shown as robed in blue, against a natural green background.

Different artists have interpreted and reproduced their Mother and Child paintings in different ways, based on the emotions they felt or have wanted to convey.

Mother and Child in Glory with Cherubs, Giovanni Battista

Madonna and Child in Glory with Cherubs, Giovanni Battista

Italian artist Giovanni Batistta, in his painting MADONNA AND CHILD IN GLORY WITH CHERUBS is probably one of the earliest artists to have painted the Madonna in blue. This ethereal painting depicted in an otherwise simpler palette of colors, gives a very earthly bond to the biblical characters, while exuding a picture of purity and love.

Mother and Child in Glory with Cherubs, Giovanni Battista

Mother and Child in Glory with St Anne and young St Johnby, Leonardo Da Vinci

MOTHER AND CHILD WITH ST ANNE AND YOUNG ST JOHNBY, painted by the famous Leonardo Da Vinci is a beautiful paintings depicting the same subject but in a neutral tone, where strong lines in charcoal have been beautifully emphasized to convey the subject. The minimalist use of color infact adds to the paintings details rather than taking away from it.

Mother and Child, Jamini Roy

Mother and Child, Jamini Roy

Our very own artist, Jamini Roy has created vibrant Mother and Child paintings in a typical Indian Kalighat style, making use of bright reds, ochres and greens to beautifully represent this wonderful bond.

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