Turner The Pre Raphaelites and Colour
My students and I will be learning about the effects of light and dark on colour in stormy skies this September. To do so we will be studying the work of Turner and creating some of our own atmospheric sky and seascapes! We will also be looking at the work of the Pre Raphaelites, who were also influenced by Goethe.
Turner followed the colour theory invented by the German poet Goethe, who in opposite to the scientific colour study of Newton, was more interested in human perception of colour. In the following quote, medium means atmospheric conditions such as light, coloud dust e.t.c
The highest degree of light, such as that of the sun… is for the most part colourless. This light, however, seen through a medium but very slightly thickened, appears to us yellow. If the density of such a medium be increased, or if its volume become greater, we shall see the light gradually assume a yellow-red hue, which at last deepens to a ruby colour. If on the other hand darkness is seen through a semi-transparent medium, which is itself illumined by a light striking on it, a blue colour appears: this becomes lighter and paler as the density of the medium is increased, but on the contrary appears darker and deeper the more transparent the medium becomes: in the least degree of dimness short of absolute transparence, always supposing a perfectly colourless medium, this deep blue approaches the most beautiful violet.
Turner mainly used the colours Ultramarine, Gamboge and Vermillion.