Colour in Art

Ref: C2225286

At the crossroad of intuition and science, colour has been the subject of many artistic debates. These two days will provide an introduction as to what colour is, how it works, and how it has been used by artists to achieve specific effects. The fascinating history of some pigments (ultramarine and carmine, for instance) will give us an insight into artists’ materials. While some pigments are lightfast and highly valued, others are fading quickly, dramatically altering the paintings in which they have been used. Because of the transitory nature of colours, and because colour seems to resist rational understanding, Western classical thinkers tended to qualify it as secondary and superficial. Modern artists, however, gave a new importance to colour. Many of them, from Turner and Delacroix, to Van Gogh, Matisse and the Delaunays, made extensive use of a brand new field of knowledge: colour theory.

Course aim

This course looks at the way colour has been considered and used by artists throughout the years.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Name important pigments and describe their particularities
  • Describe and analyse the chromatic aspects of works of art
  • Discuss colour's place in culture and modern art

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full Course information sheet

Colour in Art


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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