Color truly comes alive in these works by the artists' masterful use of color theory. Collected here are a handful of works that demonstrate varying applications of complementary colors, each to different effect.
The hot red of the poppies stand out brilliantly against the cool greens of the ground cover due to the colors' positions opposite one another on the color wheel. The same can be said to a lesser degree of the sky; although orange is the exact complement of blue, the warmth of the yellow strokes still serves to highlight and deepen the coolness of the blues.
This widely known composition has cool blues and greens covering the bulk of its surface that would make it almost monochromatic, if not for the brilliant splashes of warm yellow across the sky. The effect created is instead one of high contrast that deepens the impact of all of the colors.
In this famous Seurat work the use of complementary color is much more subtle. Small dots of alternating complementary colors clustered close together turn into a well defined scene when viewed from afar. The complementary colors serve to brighten and intensify neighboring hues, creating a cohesive look overall.
Again Seurat uses complementary colors placed close together to form uniform areas of color that are more vibrant and visually textured than what would be achieved using only one color.
In this piece Monet mixes red and green - found opposite each other on the color wheel - in order to intensify both. Red is warm and intense, and green is cool and soothing, creating an effective contrast.
Monet uses more than just the pairing of red and green in this piece: blues and oranges, as well as violets and yellows, are used as well. The individual daubs of color that up close are clearly varied create a bright and cohesive mass of flowered vegetation when seen as a whole.
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