I Want to Learn How to Think Beyond Academic Disciplines

Vol.5 2016.03.17 Atsushi MIURA

Art and “Color”

As seen from paintings, it goes without saying that “colors” occupy a very special place in art. When colors appear in an artwork, their functions and meanings are diverse. While colors basically play a role of recreating reality, in ancient times they frequently took on symbolic, religious meanings. Moreover, in modern times, with the advent of the sciences of color, colors came to be understood in more theoretical manners, and that shift coincided with the move toward the twentieth century contemporary art from the Impressionist paintings, which came to have more sensory meanings. I would like to trace such an art history of “color” by looking at the history of Western art, referencing actual works of art. On that basis, we will examine what cultural meanings are assigned to “colors” in Japanese art, which is distinct from its Western counterpart, with a focus on modern art. It is interesting to note that, even though there are no West-East divides in human perception of colors that occurs in a range of biological mechanisms, what different names of colors refer to vary across cultures.


Atsushi MIURA
He specializes in the history of the modern Western arts, especially in the history of French paintings in the nineteenth century (Manet, Fantin-Latour, Acadmic art, etc.) and the history of exchanges between French arts and Japanese arts (the study of Japonisme and the history of modern Western-style paintings in Japan, etc.)

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