What science can now tell us
Two earlier Posts draw attention to the historical importance of Seurat’s science-based ideas on the practice of painting light and colour. In the one, which is on the “Venetian Colourists” , it is argued that the artists known by this label and those who built upon their ideas were not “colourists” at all. Rather they were “lightists”, whose reputation as “colourists” was based on their mastery of whole-field lightness/darkness relations (“chiaroscuro“). Colour did not enter into the theory of painting light until Seurat introduced his idea of using optically-mixed arrays of separate dots of complementary pigment-colours to give a new kind of luminosity to his paintings. This step proved to be the precursor of a transformative jump from “lightists” to “colourists”. The next steps, which were were taken by such artists as Cézanne, Gauguin and Bonnard, were later to inspire the synthesis of my teacher Marian Bohusz-Szyszko. It is these that provide the main subject matter of the second post mentioned above, namely “The Dogmas, Chapter 1 of my book “Painting with Light and Colour”. There I explain how, as well as having an abiding influence on my own painting and my teaching, they were to:
- Provide the questions that led to my scientific research into the perception of surface, space, light and harmony in paintings (see link below).
- Pique my curiosity about its origins in ways that led to my interest in the history of the influence of science on the ideas and work of the Impressionists and their Early Modernist successors.
- Lead to the gamut of practical insights on the use of colour in painting that distinguish my books from others on the same subjects.
An introduction to key ideas
To help readers to navigate the considerable quantity of unfamiliar science-based ideas contained in my book “Painting with Light and Colour”, I decided to preface the its main content with an “Introduction to the science”. A .pdf version of this can be obtained by clicking below.
Posts relating to other chapters from “Painting with Light and Colour”:
- Inroduction: science for artists – new perspectives.
- Chapter 1 : The dogmas
- Chapter 2 : “doubts”.
- Chapter 3 : “The nature of painting”
- Chapter 4: Renaissance ideas
- Chapter 5 : New Science on offer
- Chapter 6 : “Early Modernist Painters”
Other Posts on light and colour in painting:
- What are colourists (1): Some of the many meanings of the word?
- What are colourists (2): Difference between meaning of the word for Venetian Colourists and for Modernist Colourists?