Chester Decorative & Fine Arts Society

A Member Society of NADFAS

The Importance of Colour
in Painting

Lecturer: Alice Foster M.A.

Colour is all around us, and we take it for granted as a naturally occurring element.  Imagine for a moment a monochrome world and consider how dispiriting life would be without the chromatic scale.  My lecture considers the use of colours in Mediaeval and Renaissance art; how colours derived from natural pigments were harnessed into valuable symbolic components that could be read and understood universally; how gold was associated with the mystery of Christian images.  I shall then explore different painting techniques: egg tempera, fresco and oil painting, and how light and colour became so important in the Renaissance.  Finally, I shall show the technological advances in the nineteenth century with the development of artificial pigments that allowed the Impressionists to experiment with colour and take their easels and palettes out of doors and treat colour and sunlight from a scientific point of view.