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COLOUR AND THE ARTIST'S PALETTE: Seeing Red, Feeling Blue and the Peril of Yellow

We live in a colourful man-made modern world. It is so easy to take colour for granted. But the challenge to find paints and dyes to mimic the bright natural world, and symbolise the heavenly world, has preoccupied mankind from the dawn of civilization.

Thinkers throughout history have grappled with the questions: What is colour? What does it mean? How does it make us feel?

Red is a colour of powerful emotions, of love and lust, anger and danger, royalty and revolution. It is worn by scarlet women and the Virgin. Historical recipes include worms, elephant and dragon blood, sulphur and mercury.

Blue is the colour of heavenly skies and the Virgin's mantle. It is spiritual, wistful and melancholy. Ultramarine, from across the seas, cost more than gold. Mysterious Tyrian purple was a prized dye for togas in Nero's Rome but blue denim is the most democratic cloth today.

Sunny yellow has, paradoxically, been the most poisonous pigment on the artist's palette. Its cheerful appearance belies the difficulties of using and making it. It has driven artists mad and (allegedly!) cows to a painful death.

Join me for a colourful day of 'seeing red', 'feeling blue' and 'the peril of yellow'.