What is the course about?
The course looks at colour in its historical context in Western art. From the origins of pigments and the symbolism of the limited palette in the middle ages through to the part science played in the studio by objectifying the language of colour organising and naming colours, although we tend to respond to colours subjectively.
The roles of Seneca, Newton and Munsell, the emotional response to colour from Titians direct application of paint, Turners romatic complimentaries, Delacroixs coloured shadows. The chemist Chevreuls influence on the perception and formal relationships of colours led the Impressionists to use raw spontaneous paint colour outdoors in natural lighting such as Monets series. This developed into the optical mixing of pointillism and the bold statements of the Fauvres. The particular artists of that time that took colour to its limits were Bonnard, Matisse and Klee.
We shall look at the way that contemporary artists created compositional and spatial effects through the use of colour alone. Kandinsky, who is the key figure between figurative and non-representational art said; ?the starting point is the study of colour and its effects on men.
The influence of the teachings of Josef Albers and the Bauhaus, in particular on American artists; the Abstract Expressionists such as Bernett Newman and Rothko made colour field paintings bordering on the theological. The myth of blue, queen of pigments in the middle ages, being re-invented by conceptual artist Yves Klein and Anish Kapoors forms covered with pure pigment. Morris Louis veils of colour, technically possible from the new materials such as acrylic paint, from an ordinary store.
Finally to the current use of photography and video, the colour saturated work of William Egglestone and the subverted colour of Catherine Vass.
What topics will we cover?
The origins of the use of basic colour theory as used by artists through to contemporary thinking.
How the different movements affected the way the colour was used.
Some of the different styles and approaches of painting in the various materials spanning several centuries.
The place of art within political, cultural and artistic backgrounds of the time.
The major colourists in the arts.
By the end of this course you should be able to:
Appreciate the origins of the use of basic colour theory as used by artists through to contemporary thinking.
Gain an understanding of how the different movements affected the way the colour was used.
Recognise some of the different styles and approaches of painting in the various materials spanning several centuries.
Be able to place artworks within political, cultural and artistic backgrounds of the time.
Have an understanding of some of the major colourists in the arts.
What level is the course?
The course is open to all.
How will I be taught?
Through lectures, discussions, gallery visit, handouts, slides, video and other visual material such as postcards and photographs. A selection of copies of material that are unavailable or out of print will be distributed to students.
Are there any other costs (e.g. certification, materials, equipment or books I need to buy)?
No. A list of recommended reading will be given out in the class.
What feedback will I get?
You will be given feedback individually and through group discussion. You will receive regular feedback from your tutor throughout the course, as and when appropriate. At the end of the course you and your tutor are asked to assess the progress you have made.
Will I have a chance to give my views on the course?
Yes, please complete the evaluation form at the end of your course. These are monitored and help us to continually improve our courses.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
You might like to go on to another City Lit art history or art appreciation course.