Color Theory and Art Movements

Color is more often than not part of a drawing, painting or a picture. There are no standard or fixed rules on how to apply color theory. Monet and Matisse are artists that used colors well.

Their paintings remain to be one of the most visited pieces in art galleries and museums. Artists use color in different ways. Some use color as an alternative method in contrast to the geometric perspective system in art. Unlike lines, colors can easily evoke emotions, and it allows people to be more responsive to the picture.

For some, their theory involves creating pictures without using lines and curves. Using colors alone is enough to make a picture and convey a message.

Impressionists use color and light to create shapes and images. Impressionists never use black. Instead, for making shadows or darker portions of the painting, colors are mixed and contrasted to create the effect of shadows.

Impressionists saw life as beautiful and joyful. Paintings were created by brush strokes and colors that delineate shapes. Painting took a long time than looking at the painting.

Georges Seurat executed the color theory in another way. He did pointillism. The picture was made up of millions of dots of different colors.

When one would take a close look at the painting, all one can see are colored dots but once one would take a few steps back, an image would be formed. For him, the human eyes fill in the gaps in the image. The brain mixes these colors and is ‘tricked’ into creating an image.

Cubism shows an object in more than two perspective or different angles of the same object can be seen in one picture. Cubist artists in the analytical branch of cubism minimized their use of color and concentrated on lines and geometry.

Synthetic cubism involves a more interesting execution of the colors. A lot of color was used by artists like Juan Gris, Picasso and Braque. There is an interesting mix between geometry and unusual use of colors. With synthetic cubism, it’s difficult to reconstruct pictures.

Van Gogh and Edvard Munch creations are all parts of the expressionist movement. Unlike impressionists, the expressionists’ color theory involved shadows, shade, darkness and night.

Alienation and nightmares were a common theme. Their paintings show the darker side of life and an individuals feeling of fear and loneliness.

Art movements use different techniques and underlying philosophies. A movement in art that took it in a totally different level is surrealism. Everything is distorted.

It is different thing that people see in real life, instead, it is most likely to  know what something somebody sees in their dreams. Shapes, colors, objects are presented in a different and unusual way. Objects are placed in the picture in the most unusual way and colors do not follow the normal color scheme.

Surrealist art looks illogical and impossible. Scenes are unnatural and sometimes bizarre. 

Theories sometimes touch on the age old debate of do lines separate colors or do colors make the lines? In these different movements, color is used in different ways and sometimes can advocate for one or the other side in the debate.

Artists of today will continue to showcase and find different ways of executing color theory.

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