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.
“White has the appeal of the nothingness that is before birth of the world in the ice age”
We may not consider white a colour now, but it wasn’t always so. The Ancient Romans had two words for it: albus and candidus. Trace the history of lead, zinc, and lime whites, and consider their changing symbolism. How did it come to be associated with authority? Why were polychromed Greek sculptures scrubbed in the C18th? Who were the C19th ‘white painters’? From unicorns to Korean porcelain to Whistler’s women to Agnes Martin’s minimalism to the French performance artist who covered an apartment in toothpaste, discover the enduring appeal of white.