COLOUR AND THE ARTIST'S PALETTE: Feeling Blue
Blue is the colour of heavenly skies and the Virgin's gown. It is the receding haze of distant mountains. It is spiritual, wistful and melancholy. Purple was the prized dye for togas of Nero's Rome and blue for Medieval French royal robes. It was the most valuable pigment on the artist's palette, imported from the Himalayas and costing more than gold.
Fresco, then oil paints, led to the use of cheaper azurite. From the eighteenth century, chemistry brought new inexpensive strong blues to all palettes and Queen Victoria popularized mauve dye for fashionable dresses.
But not every-one was satisfied. The French artist Yves Klein patented his own 'Spiritual Absolute' in1960, daubing it on naked ladies for the delectation of sophisticated Parisian audiences!
From mysterious Tyrian purple, to luscious lapis-lazuli, cheap and cheerful azurite to synthetic Prussian, cobalt and ultramarine, we will look at a wide range of paintings from Western art history to discover the symbolism, science and psychology of 'Feeling Blue'.