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Jan 27, 2013

Why Red? (VALENTINES) no.2


Today I am serious!
As my interest and knowledge is Modern Art, I would like to share with you the enormous change of attitude towards colors in general,  and towards red in particular, since the  modern era, around the 19th century,(as Valentine’s Day is approaching).
Jacuques Louis David, Napoleon at the St. Bernard Pass, 1801. 
This Neo-Classic painting representsthe classical attitude towards colorsince ancient time:Paint used to be a narrative vehiclein the work of art.Red, being an “extrovert” color,was used to highlight figures of prominent status,such as religious figures, political,military and social figures of high-status.In this painting, Napoleon has a red cloak,functioning as a  halo.
Red  has dual  symbolism: Holiness, courage,energy,  self-sacrifice,daring, passionate love,life, blooming.
Ahmed Taher: Red color theme
 But also –
death, war,  blood, struggle, danger, fire, aggression.                 
                                             ____   ____   ____  
Two major processes paved the way for the amazing change 0f attitude towards color: Art was liberated from the “tyranny”of narrative.(Napoleon’simagewasordered from the painter David.)
Artists no longer depended on patronage,  and were not committed  to express  a specific  agenda. They could freely express their own ideas  and feelings, like exploring paint for instance ... 

Colors as physical phenomena and later as perceptual phenomena        
(i.e. how we see colors, and the mutual effects of their combinations),
nd as a psychologicalphenomena (i.e. the mental effects of colors) .

     Mark Rothko, Orange Red Orange,circa 1962.

Mark Rothko, Mauve and Orange, 1961.


                    M.Rothko, Untilled (Red, Orange),1968.                                                                              

Rothko,the American Abstract-Expressionist,represents here the artists who saw in color itself the  subject of the painting.When we meditate before his “floating”colored rectangulars, we ask  ourselves not what it is all about,but how it is  affecting us, and what mood it expresses. 

                                                       ___   ___   ___


But now – back to ground– back to Valentine's Day:

Red color is functioning in Valentive’s Day,in its historical symbolism: passionate love, desire, energy.
Maybe we are also so attracted to red because of this dual meaning.The negative aspects intensifies our sense of  vitality…

Do you find  Modern Art interesting?
Please share in the comments  here below
Thank you,



  1. Hi Vita
    I like your artistic analysis
    it was very interesting!!!
    Thank you

  2. Hi Vita,
    Wow, what a great blog gave me a lot of inspiration,
    good luck,