The Sacred Blue- Nathan Phillips

Color is important to every artist, but modern artists know intrinsically how to properly use those colors to make the dreamlike worlds they create come to life. This gallery will focus on modern art pieces and the colors that paint their stories, specifically the color blue. Sacred blue was also the color associated with the Virgin Mary and commonly used as a profane phrase in late 19th century France, "sacré bleu!"

This is a painting of deep blue thunderclouds looming over fields of green. Van Gogh employed a mostly analogous color scheme with a small amount of split complementary as seen with the few red poppies in the field. Overall Van Gogh maintained similar colors within the balance of land and sky. Most post-impressionists implemented movement in their paintings. Depending on how skillfully they used colors, this movement can take on a rhythm.
This painting by Monet is of a shadowed sea with lofty headlands in the background. The color scheme is primarily analogous blue with a little bit of violet and complementary orange. The proportion of this scene makes the viewer feel as if it is a point of view from a boat or a dock based on the angle of the water and distance of the land. The analogous colors of the sky keep within the delicate tradition of impressionist artists of the era; an emphasis on color and light in small brush strokes.
This is a painting of a star studded night over a sleepy village. This is possibly Van Gogh's most famous piece for good reason. The movement in this painting moves in a whimsical manner that almost appears to be in perpetual flow. The brilliant blue colors are mostly analogous with very focused contrasting yellow seen in the moon and stars. Overall this piece clearly defines how the post-impressionist made a point to make their paintings "loud" compared to their predecessor impressionists.
This is a painting of an old woman passing by quaint church amongst a beautiful blue sky. Van Gogh implemented a large amount bold contouring lines to make certain things stand out, such as the old woman and the windows of the church that mimics the backdrop. Van Gogh used a variety of colors with a strong saturation in the blue sky.
This painting of a wheat field with crows flying off into a stark blue skyline is possibly one of the more eerie final pieces by van Gogh. Is it possible this is the wheat field he shot himself (was shot) in? Texture and movement are what make this painting come to life. Van Gogh captured the flow of wheat in the wind. The color and line style on this piece reflects van Gogh's mental state at the time, erratic.
This is a painting of a man who is seemingly oblivious to the dancing women (nymphs) around him. Lenz made the movement of the dancing women almost seems to be a juxtaposition to the man walking in the field, deep in thought. He is the focus of this piece everything revolves around him. The blue and green colors follow an analogous format for the most part but are interrupted by the split complementary of the red leaves in the tree.
This is a painting of a Madame Monet outside with her child enjoying the sun. The primary focus of this piece is the woman and the secondary is the boy in the distance. The primary color of this piece is blue and how the sky reflects in the hue of the clothing of the boy and his mother. The movement of this piece is based on the direction of the wind blowing the woman's hair, from left to right.
This is van Gogh's first attempt of a Starry Night before his famous masterpiece in 1889. The dark contrast of the navy blue background in this painting is highlighted by the negative space of the bright yellow stars. The texture and the proportion make them seem as if they could be plucked straight off the canvas.
This is a painting of two men preparing to fish in a body of water. The primary color of this scene is blue, but the scheme is laid out in a tetradic format with elements of orange green and yellow. The distance of the bank and the sail boats on the other side of the water shows proportion. Additionally, you can see the man in the boat pointing which helps judge the distance through gestures.
This is a painting of twisted olive trees in a valley by van Gogh. This piece has a lot of dark contours to make the background stand out. Van Gogh used mostly blue and green analogous color scheme. The proportion shows depth from the location of olive trees and distance of hills. There is movement in this painting as seen with the swirl of clouds in the sky.
Here is yet another starry night scene by Edvard Munch. This painting has a strong analogous color scheme of blues with a subtle contrast in the yellow lighting of the houses. I wanted to add this piece because it shows such a contrast in style to van Gogh's "A Starry Night" painting. This piece seems sadder and more lonely. The blending of the colors gives it more of a melancholy, sleepy element, whereas van Gogh's piece gives a more of an alert feeling.
Okay, I know this is not modern. I know it is classic romantic, but I had to throw this piece in also. This is Monk by the Sea by Caspar David Friedrich. It is painting of a lonely monk looking out to sea with a vast sky stretching overhead. Friedrich demonstrated the power of space in this piece. The sky in this painting takes up over two-thirds of the canvas. I enjoy seeing pieces like this that show how diminutive we are in comparison to the world around us.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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