Colour Remarks Ruskin Is Wholly Relative; Each Hue Throughout A Work

is altered by every touch added in other places. Thus, to place white

beside a colour is to heighten its tone; to set black beside a colour is

to weaken its tone; while to put grey beside a colour, is to render it

more brilliant. If a dark colour be placed near a different, but lighter

colour, the tone of the first is heightened, while that of the second is

lowered. An important consequence of this principle is, that the first

effect may neutralize the second, or even destroy it altogether. What

was cold before, becomes warm when a colder colour is set near it, and

what was in harmony before, becomes discordant as other colours are put

beside it. For example, to place a light blue beside a yellow, tinges

it orange, and consequently heightens its tone. Again, there are some

blues so dark relatively to the yellow that they weaken it, and not only

hide the orange tint, but even cause sensitive eyes to feel that the

yellow is rather green than orange--a very natural result when it is

considered that the paler the yellow becomes, the more it tends to

appear green.

We learn from these relations of colours, why dapplings of two or more

produce effects in painting so much more clear and brilliant than

uniform tints obtained by compounding the same colours: and why

hatchings, or a touch of their contrasts, thrown as it were by accident

upon local tints, have the same effect. We see, too, why colours mixed

deteriorate each other, which they do more--in many cases--by

imperfectly neutralizing or subduing each other chromatically, than by

any chemical action. Finally, we are impressed with the necessity, not

only of using colours pure, but of using pure colours; although pure

colouring and brilliancy differ as much from crudeness and harshness, as

tone and harmony from murkiness and monotony.

The powers of colours in contrasting each other agree with their

correlative powers of light and shade, and are to be distinguished from

their powers individually on the eye, which are those of light alone.

Thus, although orange and blue are equal powers with respect to each

other, as regards the eye they are totally different and opposed. Orange

is a luminous colour, and has a powerfully irritating effect, while blue

is a shadowy colour, possessing a soothing quality--and it is the same,

in various degrees, with other colours.

There are yet further modes of contrast or antagonism in colouring,

which claim the attention and engage the skill of the colourist. Of the

Colour It Has Already Been Observed Is Wholly Relative In Colours Are Advancing Or Retiring In Their Quality--as Depth facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail