Group discussion -

Individual student responses to the following questions:

What is the most important relationship between color and the outside world?
What is the most important characteristic of color to you personally?
What is the most interesting aspect of color?

Discuss an overview of topics, indicating the broad scope of the study of color,
to include psychology, sociology, physiology, art, fashion, advertising and physics.


Excerpts from slide lectures -
overviews; topics of discussion:
Links for further images and information

Children's Art

Happy Cat by child artist
developmental significance of color in perception and association

Developmental Stages of Children's Art from
North Seattle Community College


Lascaux, France, 15,000 - 10,000 B.C.

Limited Earthen Color Palette

Lascaux cave paintings - Main Gallery
Cave Paintings (Altimira, Lascaux, others) -
natural pigments used; symbolism

Images from Chauvet Cave at Bradshaw Foundation


The Ancient World
example; Egypt (Roman Empire)

Naturalistic pigmentation
Portrait of a Young Man
Late Roman encaustic & fresco paintings
Read about the Fayum Portraits at Smithsonian Magazine and The Metropolitan Museum


Examples of Color and Religious Symbolism:

Early Optical Color Mixing -
Christian mosaics

Byzantine Emperor Justinian I
Justinian I
6th-century at Basilica of San Vitale

Mosaics Article at
Encyclopedia Brittanica

Precious Gold was usually reserved for Holy Subjects in Art
Virgin and Child
detail from Madonna and Child by Fra Angelico, 1438-52, Florence

Fra Angelico at Museum of The San Marco Convent

The use of Blue as a Royal Coloroil painting - Deposition
The Deposition by Jacopo Pontormo, 1526-28

Pontormo at The National Gallery, London


Manger Scene - Manuscript
Illuminated Manuscript, late 14th cent., Florence
Illuminated Manuscripts at The Public Domain Review


Resurrection by Matthias Grünewald
c. 1510 - detail


Isenheim Altarpiece at Khan Academy

Revolutionary Late Renaissance Colorists

The Burial of Count Orgaz by El Greco, c.1586

El Greco at El Greco.Net


Revolutionary Modern Colorist:


Painters who are not colorists produce illumination, not painting.
- Eugene Delacroix

Eugene Delacroix at Artble

Delacroix at The Complete Works



click here for next page
The Bark of the Dante by Eugene Delacroix, 1822

Delacroix began mixing colors "optically",
such as the water drops on the men in the water
optical color mixing in painting
here is a close up of the water drops on the skin



Post-Impressionism and the Industrial Revolution : artistic & cultural reactions to color;
The development of 20th century coloristic sensibility:

Van Gogh's intense sense of color remained influential with leading artists well into the 20th century.
Coloristic effects such as this, once rejected by the public, have since found wide acceptance.

Vincent van Gogh, The Night Cafe, 1888

Complete Works at the online Vincent Van Gogh Gallery