Monday, September 26, 2016

BBC History of Art in Three Colours 3of3 - WHITE

I've always had a slight obsession with colour and I think so has everyone else. You may not stop to think about it but most of the things we see and do revolve around colours. Green means go, red means stop. Yellow means the banana is ripe, brown means it's too ripe. Blue skies generally mean it's going to be a nice day and grey means not so good. When we describe material objects it's usually by size, shape and colour. If colour meant nothing to us then our houses and cars would be the same colour. We'd all wear the same coloured clothing and so on and so forth. Some people even study the effects that certain colours have on people. Does seeing the colour red make you angry?
I found this show called History of Art in Three Colours, the first two are gold and blue but I couldn't find a video that would play so we have the third episode, white. It goes even further into the notion that colour is associated with strong feelings. White is meant to be virginal, pure, blah blah. It's true though, we associate colours with specific things and feelings.
It starts off kinda funny, going on about a marble sculpture of Apollo and how because it was all done in white that it made it intellectual and stimulating. Sure we can say all that mumbo jumbo now but perhaps it's white simply because that's what was available at the time. It reminded me of this house in a town just north of me. It was purple and it stood out like a sore thumb. As a child I always wondered why someone would want a purple house, unless your name was Ken and Barbie. The story goes that the house was originally painted purple during the war. The family couldn't afford paint so they mixed up all the half empty paint cans they could find and used that to paint the house. When the colours were all mixed it turned out purple so ever since the homeowners continued the tradition of keeping the house purple. The house always got so much attention all based on its colour.
Colour can give you a sense of comfort as well. Don't believe me? Next time you travel and stay in a hotel check the sheets. I'm pretty sure you'd feel more comfortable seeing clean white sheets rather than dingy grey ones.
Admittedly I didn't find the show all that great, but it sure did get my brain going on all of these thoughts and ideas. 


  1. Now I'm REALLY curious what the turquoise thing means and whether it's healthy or pathological...

    1. I know, you think you just like a colour because that's what you like, no hidden meaning behind it, then boom. Imagine my surprise when I learned there's a whole psychology about taste. It says I can learn to love onions.