Without red sad palette. Color as a symbol in painting
It is impossible not to notice. He is one of the most preferred and expressive. He – the first in the history of art, not to mention the chromatic scale. He attracted attention to himself since ancient times: and because these are the properties of his nature and of human nature; and because it is associated with such vital concepts as blood and fire. Having absorbed natural meanings, red does not part with them throughout the entire history of mankind.
Ever since antiquity, red has been expressing mostly positive values, but it is also not necessary to discount the coded signals of danger and pain coded in it.
For example, in ancient Egypt, red absorbed the qualities of an uninhabited and barren land and therefore became the color of evil. It is for this reason that Seth, the brother and murderer of Osiris, was painted with red ocher. The same color was used to write words that carried unkind omens.
In ancient Rome, the color of blood symbolized courage, power and authority. Such a color of clothing and interior decoration could afford only emperors and in the Praetorian cohorts. The finishes of the Roman senators were red. Already the road was cochineal – an insect from which a waterproof dye was extracted from its shell.
In the XV century, under the ruins of the Palace of Nero in Rome (64 AD – 68 AD), which was part of the Palace of the Golden House complex (Domus Aurea), underground halls with numerous wall paintings were discovered. The murals by that time were in very good condition. This discovery was destructive for wall paintings due to humidity. Fortunately, prudently made sketches of paintings have survived to this day.
Shades of red played an important role in the designation of the imperial vertical in Byzantium and the successors of its culture. Etiquette is strictly observed. The courtiers were allowed to wear bright details in their clothes, but the right to wear a bright red robe and tall red boots embroidered with pearls were only the emperor.
Hyacinth rigo. Portrait of Louis XIV
Centuries later, only heels remained of the shoe, and according to the palace rules only nobles could flaunt them.
Jacques-Louis David. Coronation of Emperor Napoleon I and coronation of Empress Josephine in Notre-Dame de Paris, December 2, 1804. Fragment of Jacques-Louis David. Oath of the Horatii
Jacques Louis David The anointing of Napoleon I and the coronation of Empress Josephine.
Jacques Louis David Oath of the Horatii 1784
The son of red and blue – purple, surpassed parents in greatness and nothing else, as “luxurious” this color does not magnify. The purple togs were dressed in the victors of ancient Rome, and the echoes (or more precisely the reflections) of his glory survived the centuries. Even in the 16th century Germany, only princes were eligible for red or purple velvet or satin overclothes lined with fur.
Miniatures of the 10th century with the image of the emperor Otto in a purple cloak.
In the third century, the Roman emperor Aurelian did not allow his wife to buy a purple silk scarf from Tire, because it was worth as many grams of gold.
The exclusivity of purple has survived until the Elizabethan era (1558-1603). In England, the laws regulating the consumption of luxury goods were strictly observed, and it was also prescribed what colors, fabrics and clothes could and could not be worn by representatives of different classes of society.
Church canons adopted a laconic palette of previous cultures and absorbed the main interpretations of flowers, endowing red with meanings of power and martyrdom. The red maforium (a blanket falling on the shoulders) on the head of the Most Pure One symbolizes suffering and indicates its purpose – the Queen of Heaven. Bottom clothes are usually written in blue (a sign of heavenly purity).
The robes of Christ vary in different scenes: the blue himation (cape) is the symbol of His Divinity, and the dark red chiton is the symbol of His human nature, the color of sacred blood shed in the name of saving people. The red cloak of Saint George and the bright red clothes of the holy martyrs testifies to the martyr’s death and suffering.
In ancient Rome, the bride was dressed strictly, in accordance with the image of Juno: on her head – a scarlet veil, symbolizing the passion, love and innocence of the bride. In Russia, the girls were married in traditional dress: a long white shirt with wide sleeves, on top of it – a scarlet sundress, symbolizing joy, sun and beauty. In addition, the red color of the clothes of the bride and groom was supposed to protect her from the evil eye and serve as a guarantee of well-being. In Western Europe, “Gothic” brides will certainly put on a wedding attire that has never been seen before. Often, even for the bride: in the Middle Ages, a beautiful dress was the only joy of marriage. Marriages in those days were concluded as transactions, with an indispensable wedding contract, and the wedding dress was also part of the contract. It was prescribed, from which fabric it should be sewn (velvet or brocade), than decorated, what fur to tamp (squirrel or ermine). The color of the decoration depended on the wishes of the groom’s family, but red, scarlet or purple were considered especially popular (“Portrait of Sibyl Klevska.” Lucas Cranach the Elder)