The Course / The History of Art in Ten Colours (Red) 3/10

May 16, 2019 @ 10:45 am – 12:45 pm
The Course at The University Womens Club
2 Audley Square
Mayfair, London W1K
Mary Bromley
020 7266 7815

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.

Red Keith Haring

“Red is one of the strongest colours, it’s blood, it has a power with the eye.”

Pliny said the colour came from the merging of the blood of an elephant and a dragon when they fought. There are myriad reds: alizarin crimson, vermilion, rose madder, Venetian, Indian, iodine scarlet, and cochineal which took the bodies of 80 female beetles, imported from the Americas, to make 1g. Why should waitresses wear red? How did Rothko transform it into the colour of despair? Discover how artists such as JMW Turner used red to enliven their work, and how others like Reynolds and Velasquez saw their reds fade away.