If you haven’t been to this exhibition at the National Gallery, I highly recommend it!
This exhibition opened in June, but I’ve only just got round to seeing it. Although it focuses on painting rather than textiles, it’s definitely worth a visit.
It begins with a brief introduction to the concepts of primary colours and the colour wheel, and how painters over the years exploited the combinations of complementary colours (those which are opposite each other on the colour wheel, such as purple and yellow, or green and red) to create striking visual impressions.
This is followed by sections on each of the main colours – blue, green, yellow, red and purple, plus gold and silver.
The earliest pigments were mostly from ground-up minerals. Lapis lazuli, or natural ultramarine, used for blue, was at one time more expensive than gold, so became popular for painting the robes of the Virgin Mary, as a sign of devotion. Red vermilion (cinnabar) was a mercury ore, green came from…
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