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Making sense of art history
Making sense of art history

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5 Colour

5.1 Introduction

Colour can have a range of effects on us as spectators: for example, it can have an emotional impact, or it can encourage us to read the art work in a particular way. Here, you'll look at a range of questions that might be asked of the use of colour, namely:

  1. Has a wide or narrow palette of colours been used?

  2. Have contrasting colours been placed next to each other?

  3. Are there more warm colours than cool colours or vice versa?

  4. Are the colours largely bright or dull?

  5. In what way is dark and light colour used?

For each question you'll be encouraged to consider whether the use of colour conveys a particular mood or emotional effect and whether the use of colour helps to determine the order in which we read the art work.