Colors speak depth in paintings. The colors used in a painting, its intensity, the hue, and the types of strokes provide meaning to the paintings we see. Colorful paintings go beyond how bright or pleasant it looks. As you would see in this article, even some unusual colors bring a burst of definition and meaning with the creative use of their colors.
There are a handful of famous colorful paintings which have surfaced in the last half millennia. Of these artworks, here are a selected few.
The Red Vineyard – Vincent van Gogh, 1888 – 1890
Vincent Van Gogh is known as a post-impressionist painter who shows details in his paintings using vast colors. In the Red Vineyard, we see a set of red, brown, violet, blue, green, and yellow colors carefully interwoven to show a memory of his when he moved to Paris in 1888.
We see the bright setting sun, and it’s a reflection in the stream on the right side of the painting. We notice the red vineyard with the workers harvesting; we see the trees brought to life and given a perspective… among other subtle details here and there that led the work of art into perfection.
The Nun – Andy Warhol, 1983
The Nun is one of the three silk paintings of the Ingrid Bergman portfolio by Andy Warhol. It was one of the paintings done to pay tribute to the Academy-Award-winning actress, Ingrid Bergman, along with “With Hat” and “Herself.”
The portrait was taken from classic films of Casablanca (1942) and The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945) to give this vivid painting. An intense black color was used with noticeable colors like pink, orange and blue with different contrasts.
Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I – Gustav Klimt, 1903 – 1907
A painting of romance, beauty, and affection! Gustav’s painting of the rich muse Adele is not only one of the most famous colorful paintings, but it is also one of the world’s most beautiful and most expensive paintings. The original painting was last sold at $150 million by a billionaire mogul in 2016.
The use of a rich, vibrant palette of yellow and gold colors with a few secondary colors of green, black, white, and red, but gently and carefully into every detail, giving it a mosaic fitting into what we can see as a royal work of art. No wonder it took the artist about three years to complete this masterpiece.
Flint Castle – J.M.W Turner, 1838
Joseph Mallord William Turner created the capture of the glorious sunrise. The Flint castle is shown at a distance from the view of workers at the dork. The shades and layers of the sky and clouds with orange, yellow, and a tint of blue, and the sun’s reflection over the water were represented clearly in this painting.
Yellow Red Blue – Wassily Kandinsky, 1925
Wassily is well known for his brilliant use of colors for abstract drawing. Of his famous colorful paintings, Yellow Red Blue is worthy of mention. This painting may seem like a playful use of lines and geometry. Still, knowing the artist behind it – who was filled with creativity and imagination, he found a way to balance the curves and line using the three primary colors to perfection.
Colors like yellow, red, and blue are the predominant colors in this painting. However, it was used in different intensities, and there is a fine blend of purple (obtained by mixing the colors blue and red) that gives it a dreamy background.
Harvest at La Crau with Motmajour in the Background – Vincent Van Gogh, 1888.
Yellow has its way of bringing happiness and hope. The renowned Vincent Van Gogh strikes those emotions in this beautiful painting of the countryside. The work shows a sunny afternoon with vibrant colors to show a vast land used for agriculture.
He also gives the painting a three-dimensional view towards the mountainside and aligns it perfectly with the blue sky. This painting, in general, expresses in clear detail the hot, calm relaxation we get moving in the countryside.
Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came – Thomas Moran, 1859
Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came by Thomas Moran is a subtle variation of J.M.W Turner’s work of Flint Castle showing the sunset. It is also said that the paintings of J.M.W Turner inspired this particular painting. A sublime transition of dark colors with a rise to lighter tones gives this painting a unique expression.
The way we judge colorful paintings is subjective. But, the fact remains that colors make us feel a certain way and our brain even processes some colors to a defined set of descriptions. Relating to the paintings from the list, we get to feel the emotions expressed by the artists through art. That way, we preserve the beauty in these paintings and share the love for colorful art.