Color in Paintings Analytical Essay by Nicky

Examines the use of color in paintings as it enhances the overall dimension and meaning of the context.
# 145175 | 3,125 words | 14 sources | MLA | 2010 | US
Published on Oct 27, 2010 in Art (Artists) , Art (Painting) , Art (Fine Art)

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This paper explains that the colors in a painting and their intensity help the viewer see and interpret beyond the painting's literal form. When the use of color is wrong, the result can be very off-putting. Next, the author reviews the use and meaning of the individual colors: red, yellow, the most popular blue, orange, green, purple, gray, black and the most used white. The paper examines five paintings as examples of the denotation of color.

Table of Contents:
Body and Color in Painting
Color Denotations
Examples of Color Denotations in Paintings
America Windows, 1977 French (b. Belarus), Marc Chagall (1887-1985)
The Assumption of the Virgin, 1577 Spanish, (b. Greece), El Greco (b. Domenico Theotokopoulos, 1541-1614)
Fishing Boats with Hucksters Bargaining for Fish, 1837 English, Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851)
At the Moulin Rouge, 1893/95 French, Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)
The Old Guitarist, 1903/04 Spanish, Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

From the Paper:

"Purple is formed when we mix the primary colors blue and purple and hence when purple is used in paintings it carries the traits of both the colors red and blue. Purple carries in it the serenity and vastness that blue embodies and also incorporates the inspiration and the eye-catching trait of the color red. However, this particular combination of denotations can be ultimately confusing within the realms of the painting unless the undertone of the purple has been clearly identified and represented."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Arnheim, R. Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Creative Eye. University of California Press, 2004.
  • Burckhardt, T., Michaud, R. and Hobson, J. Peter. Art of Islam: Language and Meaning. University of Michigan, 2007.
  • Cayce, Edgar. Auras: An Essay on the Meaning of Colors. Association for Research and Enlightenment, 1973.
  • Haden-Guest, A. True Colors: The Real Life of the Art World. Atlantic Monthly Press, 1998.
  • Harrington, L. and Martin, J. The Art of Exterior Painting. John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2000.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Color in Paintings (2010, October 27) Retrieved December 09, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Color in Paintings" 27 October 2010. Web. 09 December. 2023. <>