Imagine a world devoid of its colorful shine… a Sun without its golden radiance, a sky without its blue stretch and puffy white clouds or even a leaf lacking its serene green touch… How unexciting and unattractive would it have been? While appearance is a major quotient in predicting the beauty of any object, color is its vital determinant. A pleasure that elevates each individual’s visionary experience, color, plays a vital role in reflecting the very vigor of human life. Over the years, it has been clearly an influential element in determining our highest-levels of cognition, intelligence and even the ability to analyze.
From the Stone Age cave paintings to vibrant Graffiti creations, color holds its impression in human lives. The most earliest of the color theory could be traced back to the works of Leon Battista Alberti (1435) and the genius from the Renaissance era, Leonardo Da Vinci (1490). However, a most common factor seen unanimously among the canvases from these connoisseurs was in the use of naturally made pigments as colors. The art was most predominantly popular among the European canvas masters, who mixed and applied natural pigments made from stones, minerals and even plantations.
Italian Renaissance artists were one among the prominent ones who used natural chalks made from mineral pigments to make their canvasses more colorful. Residues churned out from excavations, sticks shaped with knives and chalks made from minerals, became the primary source of color for these canvas masters. One such appeal was popularly seen in the paintings from maestros like Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael, between 1500-1900.
We take this opportunity to introduce you to few of such renowned artists from the world of art.
Known for the luminosity of colors in his paintings, Bosch, was one amongst the most revolutionary artists of 15th century. Known as ‘Alla Prima’, he followed a unique technique of implementing colors in his canvasses. Natural pigments derived from minerals and earthly elements were laid on in one application with little or no under painting in his works. The vibrancies achieved with the usage of naturally made colors reflect the liveliness in his paintings even today.
Following the color driven appeal of expressionism was Caravaggio, another renowned Italian painter. Taking a step further, Caravaggio made the technique of using colors more definitive in his works. The shadows were darkened and daylights were brightened in his paintings. The most visible pattern however was the use of mineral pigments made from lead tin and vermillion, organic carbon and copper residues in developing color.
The India Story: Thanjavur Paintings
Replicating the nature of sourcing color from natural elements are the paintings found in the most famous Thanjavur temples in Southern India. The art that gained its popularity during the Chola regime in 16th century was known for its uniqueness in design and vibrancies in the color used. Created on wooden and cloth canvases, the artists used a mixture of chalk powder, gum, minerals, semi-precious stones and even gold in adding color to their works. The paintings and artifacts are a clear reflection of the purity achieved through naturally sourced colors even today.
Drawing inspiration from the artistic impressions, a close similarity is seen even in the world of architecture. The influence has been so much that the trend has become a hot-shot selling point along with the concept of Green Buildings. Moreover, with the rising need to develop more eco-friendly structures, the use of nature-rich paints and coatings seems to be an apt solution to achieve a sustainable future. And the ideal example proving the purity of nature rich color pigments are the canvasses created by the artistic maestros, which has its freshness in its appeal even today.