Surrealism is one of the best-celebrated art periods to date. Emerging in the 1910s as a literary movement, Surrealism filled the gap between WWI and WWII with introspective artwork intended to question society and existing conventions.

Surrealism began in Paris with poet and critic André Breton. A trained psychologist, Breton studied the theories of Sigmund Freud, as well as traditional Marxist ideology. Upon publishing the Manifesto of Surrealism in 1924, Breton was able to bring ideas from Frances poets and authors to artists across Europe.

Surrealist poets were reluctant to align themselves with the visual arts; visual art is labor-intensive…


A series of nine head-shot paintings of Marilyn Monroe, in various color, by Andy Warhol.
A series of nine head-shot paintings of Marilyn Monroe, in various color, by Andy Warhol.
Marilyn Monroe” (1967), Andy Warhol.

Pop art is: popular, transient, expendable, low-cost, mass-produced, young, witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamorous and big business.” — Richard Hamilton, 1957

Known for its 2D shapes, bold colors, hard edges, everyday subject matter, commercial techniques, and use of irony and satire, Pop Art emerged as a reaction to WWII. The public depression encouraged artists to create art that would lighten everyone’s spirits and comment on post-war society. Many historians believe the change to Pop was formed from a desire to move away from the previous influential art movement, Abstract Expressionism.


Claes Oldenburg, the quintessential pop art sculptor, has fascinated the world with large replicas of common objects since the 1960s. Born in 1929 in Sweden — the son of a diplomat — Oldenburg studied literature, art history, and studio art at Yale. At seven, his family moved to Chicago. He would later attend the Art Institute of Chicago intermittently while working as a writer for the City News Bureau and an illustrator for Chicago magazine. Oldenburg moved to New York in 1956 and would become the Director of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) from 1972–1995.

Leaning Clarinet (2006), Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen

Oldenburg settled in the…


The human eye is always processing new information. As it constantly works to send images to the brain, it can become tired. Old age, tiredness, eye strain, and genetics all affect how we see things — specifically, how we perceive color in comparison to everyone else. Furthermore, there are deeper factors, such as environment and eye biology, that significantly affect how humans process color.

Photoreceptors

The primary parts of the eye that handle color are the photoreceptors, which are divided into rods and cones. Rods absorb only dim light, while cones are able to absorb brighter light: colors. …


Neon colors — often called fluorescent colors — are, at their base, extremely bright lights. Neons, like all colors, are visual representations of light. Since neon colors are especially bright, they’re best described as extremely luminescent versions of primary and secondary colors. Neon colors can only be chemically created. As a result, they’re not included in the traditional color spectrum and were not discovered until the last century.

It is important to note that while artists have been utilizing neon paint and pigments since their creation, the large majority of documented neon art uses neon lighting, making neon light the…


Throughout history, people have turned to art to express emotions about events. This is no different for disease as outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics have ravaged the world for centuries. Covered below are many global disease outbreaks that have had art created about them. The art may be graphic to some and death is discussed.

It’s important to distinguish the difference between an outbreak, epidemic, and pandemic. An outbreak of a disease is “a sudden rise in the number of cases of a disease. An outbreak may occur in a community or geographical area, or may affect several countries. It may…


What defines a neutral color?

Neutral colors are most clearly defined as hues that appear to be without color, and that don’t typically appear on the color wheel. Neutral colors, therefore, do not compete with primary and secondary colors and instead compliment them.

Categories of Neutral Colors

The four most common neutrals are black, white, brown and grey, and are created by mixing two complementary colors. These neutrals don’t have hue undertones, causing them to be considered “pure”.

All other neutrals are considered near-neutrals. Near neutrals appear to be without color, or have neutral-like tendencies, but have a hue undertone. Near neutral examples are tans and darker colors.

Near Neutrals

Near…


“When I was 50 I had published a universe of designs, but all I have done before the age of 70 is not worth bothering with. At 75, I’ll have learned something of the pattern of nature, of animals, of plants, of trees, birds, fish and insects. When I am 80, you will see real progress. At 90, I shall have cut my way deeply into the mystery of life itself. At 100 I shall be a marvelous artist. At 110, everything I create — a dot, a line — will jump to life as never before.” — Hokusai

Ukiyo-e…


Georges Seurat is a famous painter from the 19th century known for his work in founding the style of pointillism and researching color theory. Seurat was born on December 2, 1859, to Antoine Seurat and Ernestine Faivre, two French natives. His father resided in Le Raincy, an eastern suburb of Paris, while his mother lived in the city. Seurat primarily lived with his mother and two siblings. They lived in Paris until the Paris Commune of 1871 (a rebellion of the Parisian people against the French state where the Parisians set up their government), after which they were driven out…


This is a list of basic color theory terms and will likely be updated over time. This is intended as a frame of reference for terminology used in other articles.

A variety of terms, such as light, color spectrum, different types of color combinations (such as analogous), and others were not included in this list because they have been or will be featured in another, separate article in this publication.

Hue

  • Hue is another name for color. For example, an apple’s color, or hue, may be red. The two words can be used interchangeably.

Chroma/Chromacity

  • Chroma is the purity of a color…

Erin S

Student, poet, and art, history, and color enthusiast.

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