Short History of Colour in Western Art: A Course of Talks

Juliet Heslewood
Event date
30 Jan 2024 to 13 Feb 2024
Event time
14:00 - 15:00
Ashmolean Museum (in-person and online)
Beaumont Street
Event type
Lectures and seminars
Event cost
Disabled access?
Booking required

This course of three talks led by Juliet Heslewood will explore three different and exciting periods in Western Art history when the use of colours in art and artistic practice changed significantly.

Talk 1, Tue 30 Jan 2024 - Earth Colours of the Romanesque

In the early medieval period, identifiable 'artists' hardly existed but anonymous 'image-makers' worked in paint that was derived from natural resources. Manuscripts, wall paintings and even embroideries all tended to reveal the same colours that, though limited, were well able to enhance the legibility of their varied works.

Talk 2, Tue 6 Feb 2024 - Watercolouring England

During the early years of the 19th century, artists were reluctant to travel to war-torn Europe. Many British artists turned to their own countryside in order to record its changeable nature in watercolour - a difficult but portable medium. Their practice saw the development of a specific school of painting that encouraged the careers of both Turner and Constable.

Talk 3, Tue 13 Feb 2024 - Van Gogh: The Colour of Feeling

Living in the Netherlands where he was hoping to become a preacher, Vincent van Gogh was only aware of the impact of Impressionism in Paris through journals and news from his brother. He took up painting as a recreation and his early work was characterised by very dark colours as he examined the poverty of local peasants. Once in Paris himself, everything changed – especially the colours of his palette. In his short career he mastered the power of vibrant colour combinations, for which he is so well known.