Using artists of your choice discuss the ways in which an artist (or artists) have privileged colour as an means of artistic expression.

Essay by artygirl2006University, Bachelor'sC+, March 2006

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Throughout the 19th and 20th century many artists have been trying to create an art of pure colour. Eugene Delacroix was one of the first painters practicing the use of pure colour and inspired many other artists such as Cezanne, Monet and Matisse and Rothko to carry out this quest for an art of pure colour.

Eugene Delacroix (1798 - 1862):

"The work of a painter who is not a colourist is illumination rather than painting. If one intends something other than cameos, colour is, strictly speaking, one of the founding principles of painting, no less so than chiaroscuro, proportion and perspective... Colour gives the appearance of life."

Delacroix is stating that colour is extremely important in works of art and brings a painting to life.

The Massacre at Chios - Delacroix

The Massacre at Chios, 1824 shown above shows the brilliant colours and strong emotions Delacroix uses for his paintings.

This picture shows an incident in which twenty thousand Greeks were killed by Turks on the island of Chios, and the backdrop shows a fiery sunset of oranges and yellows. Delacroix re-worked this backdrop after seeing Constable's Hay Wain.

Delacroix's trip to North Africa in 1832 influenced his art enormously and while he was there he spent most of his days making numerous drawings and watercolours in seven sketchbooks. The Sea at Sunset shows a landscape study in pastels, made during the Mediterranean passage from Toulon to Tangier.

'It shows Delacroix's attraction to a bold contrast of a warm orange - tawny hue against a cool blue'.

Delacroix uses rich palettes and exotic, imaginative subjects in his work.

Cezanne was extremely influenced by the work of Delacroix. His devotion to his artwork lasted his entire career. Paul Cezanne was part of the Impressionist group, with artists including Claude Monet...