2 Audley Square
Mayfair, London W1K
Established in 1994, The Course offers exciting lectures in Art History, Literature and
Music.Hockney “I prefer living in colours”
The very term ‘colour’ is used differently in the C21st. This course traces the fascinating history of pigments: where they came from, how they were created, and how they have changed the course of art history. It’s a story that will take us from a single mine in Afghanistan to the serendipitous discovery of a fraudulent alchemist in Berlin to a contemporary patent for the blackest black imaginable. We’ll consider both the materiality of colours – for instance, the impact of ‘fugitive’ pigments and dyes that disappear in time – and their shifting symbolism in different cultural contexts. Re-discover paintings you thought you knew by seeing them digitally returned to their ‘real’ colours and forge new connections between artists.
Brown Georgia O’Keeffe (Visit to the National Gallery)
“All the earth colours of the painter’s palette are out there in the many miles of badlands”
The earth pigments are some of the oldest to be used in art, evident in the Cave painters. There are many natural (raw umber, raw sienna) and human-made (burnt umber, burnt sienna) variations. Their versatility, stability, and affordability mean we can enjoy them in the great landscape painters, Dutch and Flemish genre painters like Joachim Beuckelaer, Velázquez, Van Dyck, and masters like Rembrandt who eschewed more expensive pigments in their search for truth. This gallery visit will also be an opportunity to revise our other colours by comparing them ‘in the flesh.’