A synthesis of previous chapters


The purpose of this Post is to provide a link to “Synthesis of colour ideas”, Chapter 28 of my book, “Painting with Light and Colour”. In combination with the next chapter, its role is to prepare for the practical applications of the ideas presented in Chapter 30. It brings together a number of the more important proposals found in both this book and the book on drawing, “Drawing on the Both Sides of the Brain”. In particular, ones relating to:

  • The history of artistic thought and practice in Europe, since the Italian Renaissance.
  • The evolution of the science of visual perception, from its origins in the middle of the Eighteenth Century to the present day.

Venetian Colourists not colourists

Before the arrival of this new science, artists, following the lead of the “Venetian Colourists”, had learnt a lot about introducing effects of light into the illusory pictorial space that they sought to create in their paintings. They had arrived at the conclusion that mastery of this ephemeral aspect of depiction depends on control of “lightness  relations”. To do this they adopted the rule that there should be no repetitions of lightnesses across the entire picture surface.  Paradoxically, it follows from this that the innovation which led to their being known as “colourists” had nothing to do with  two of the  three variables that are usually thought to be necessary to define colour, namely “hue” or “saturation”. Perhaps a better name for them would “Venetian lightists”.


A reminder of “colourists” before and after Seurat

before and after Seurat: a synthesis
Portraits by Titian and Vermeer: No repeated lightneeses

before and after Seurat: a synthesis
Seurat, Van Gogh and Pissarro – The introduction of colour and colour mixtures into the depiction of illusory pictorial space

before and after Seurat: a synthesis
Matisse and Bonnard,  who helped inspire the simple and powerful synthesis of Bohusz-Szyszko

Other chapters from “Painting  with Colour”

Go to list of all chapters and extracts from the books

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