Elements of Art:   Complementary colors

Nicole Williams                                                                                          Full Sail University                                                                 Art History                                             

Self-Portrait by Vincent van Gogh uses the complementary colors blue and orange. These two colors work well in the piece by creating contrast between the lighter oranges of Vincent's face and the darker blues of the background and his coat.
The Painter and His Model by Leonardas Gutauskas uses two different sets of complementary colors; purple and yellow and red and green. The red and green is found in the background of the right side of the painting and draws our attention there to the sitter. The sitter is colored in purple and yellow, which gives them a sense of importance.
Lady in Violet by Pal Szinyei Merse uses the complementary colors violet and yellow. Since violet is considered a royal color it lets us know that the sitter is an important, wealthy person. The yellows in the background help to brighten the piece and make the mood lighter.
The Yellow Log by Evard Munch also uses the complementary colors violet and yellow. In this painting the violet trees and bright yellow log combine to give it a surreal look.
Meadow with Poppies by Pal Szinyei Merse uses the complementary colors red and green. This piece demonstrates that these two colors work well together because they are often found together in nature.
Nostalgia II by Raul Anguiano uses the complementary colors violet and yellow. The violet of the woman's hair conveys a sense of mystery and somberness. However, the golden glow around her symbolizes the nostalgia of the painting, and that she is thinking of better times.
March in Suzdal. A Blue Day by Kim Britov uses the complementary colors blue and orange. The blue in this picture magnifies the coldness of the snow in the picture, giving it a sense of stillness while the touches of orange in the houses and sky help to lighten the painting.
Red Memory - Laughing in Wind No. 2 by Chen Wenling uses the complementary colors red and green. This piece uses the colors at some of their most saturated values to make it more dramatic and vibrant.
Tragic of Yellow Skin by Tan Chin Kuan uses the complementary colors violet and yellow. In this piece the golden paint washes over the dark figure and seems to cleanse it.
This dish uses the complementary colors blue and orange. The figure on the plate seems to be a conquistador, so the two colors give it a sense of adventure and confidence.
Swaying Dancer (Dancer in Green) by Edgar Degas uses the complementary colors red and green. The colors help the girls retain a sense of youth while their subdued tones also give them a sophisticated look.
This hat uses the complementary colors violet and yellow. Both the violet material and gold embroidery of the hat combine to make it a hat fit for the wealthy.
Elizabeth and Mary Linley by Thomas Gainsborough uses the complementary colors blue and orange. The blue of the one sisters dress compared to the other shows that they both have different personalities while still maintaining a sisterly bond.
Luta by Claudio Tozzi uses the complementary colors red and green. Luta means fight in Portugese, and was part of the phrase "A luta continua" or, "The struggle continues" which was used during Mozimbique's war for independence. The bright usage of red and green urge viewers to take action.
The Offering by Saturnino Herran uses the complementary colors blue and orange. The orange marigolds, which are flowers often associated with the dead in Mexican culture, and the blues of the water and some of the passenger's clothes show that they are all on a journey, and regardless of who is on board the destination is ultimately the afterlife.
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