Power of Color in Art (05:32)
Color to illuminated the divine for many faiths; pigments were expemsive. Cathedrals served as the center of town for those living in Northern Europe. A light show in Amiens Cathedral demonstrated the use of color; Chartres Cathedral contained stained glass iconography. (Credits)
Obtaining Color (02:14)
Medieval Europe inherited technology to create stained glass from ancient Egyptians. The deep blue color needed to be imported from Southern Italy or the Byzantine Empire. Medieval Europe used roots, berries, barks, leaves, and insects to create colors; Venice obtained colors from the Islamic world.
Renaissance Art Colors (03:12)
Ottoman trade routes brought pigments from India and China to Venice. Most Renaissance artists considered color a secondary concern in painting, but Venetians believed it could model compositions. Giovanni Bellini used ultramarine to represent the Virgin Mary's cloak in the San Zaccaria Altarpiece.
Tiziano Vecelli used ultramarine in the portrait of a Venetian gentleman and Ariadne's dress in "Bacchus and Ariadne." The painter used vermillion red, an expensive and rare pigment.
Jodhpur, India (04:47)
Indians created bindis using vermillion red. The Festival of Holy celebrated the return of color in the springtime. Artists used color and scale to generate an immersive experience on large canvases; time was cyclical.
European Renaissance Paintings (03:09)
Gold helped balance the ultramarine and red rose in "The Way to Calvary." Masaccio incorporated earth tones and shadows in "The Tribute Money." Chiaroscuro employed strong contrasts of light and dark; the invention of oil-based paints created a greater variety of tones.
Painting During the Age of Reason (02:23)
Giambattista Tiepolo painted a ceiling fresco depicting Apollo and the continents across 7,000 square feet at the Würzburg Residence. Works appeared to share the same physical space as the viewer.
Francisco De Goya (05:15)
Goya was the royal painter at the Spanish court during the 18th Century. In "The San Isidro Pilgrimage" the townspeople danced to music played by a madman. Napoleon Bonaparte was depicted at the center of the painting.
Tokyo, Japan (06:05)
The merchant class spent their money on music, theater, and art during the 17th and 18th centuries. Ukiyo-e depicted kabuki actors, sumo wrestlers, prostitutes, and courtesans in the changing city; Shunga served as a calling card for the Oiran. Craftsmen demonstrate the process of carving and printmaking.
In 19th Century France, Claude Monet, Mary Cassatt, Camille Pissarro, and Edgar Degas collected Ukiyo-e prints. Monet painted a series of pictures depicting Rouen Cathedral. Impressionists attempted to understand the relationship between light and color.
Vincent Van Gogh sought to use "Japanese light" and harnessed the power of complementary colors. "Starry Night Over the Rhone" depicted Arles, France in the evening.
Art Cut-Outs (06:16)
Henri Matisse arrived in Tangier, Morocco in 1912 and became fascinated with colors. During World War II, he depicted abstract dancing and circus acts of his youth.
Abstract Art (02:42)
Mark Rothko constructed compositions with pure color. Yves Klein relied on industrial ultramarine to paint "Blue Planetary Relief." Medieval artists believed pure color could express something metaphysical.
Credits: Color and Light: Episode 7 (00:31)
Credits: Color and Light: Episode 7
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