Each year, the Pantone Color Institute selects a color of the year based on expert opinions and extensive research of visual trends across the globe. To kick off the new decade, the institute has selected Classic Blue (PANTONE 19-4052). This universally-appealing shade (the color blue is known to be the most-favored color in the world!) is known for its ability to evoke serenity, reassurance, and clarity, qualities that are especially important in recent times to surround oneself with. In honor of this, here are some fun facts about the uses of the color blue in artwork throughout history.
1. Blue paint was historically extremely expensive!
Did you know that blue pigment was once considered to be as valuable as gold? In ancient times, owning paintings and artifacts containing the color blue was no small feat. The invention of the blue pigment is attributed to the early Egyptians, who reserved its use for artwork commissioned by royalty. The still widely-used ultramarine blue was developed a little later on, originally being made with crushed precious minerals. Thankfully, we now have less-expensive synthetic means of producing this color, so today’s artists and collectors are able to create and own works featuring it without breaking the bank!
2. Picasso’s Blue Period lasted four years.
While many remember Picasso for his innovative and playful use of color, Picasso spent about four years of his career painting only in "nauseating" blue tones. Unlike the Pantone Institute's current description of the color, Picasso is said to have chosen blues for their ability to create a somber mood before transitioning into more uplifting palettes and subjects.
Pablo Picasso, The Old Guitarist, 1904.
3. There was a group of artists that specifically painted blue horseback riders.
Talk about specific interests! In the early 1900s, a group of artists called Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) formed and exhibited together in Münich, Germany. Keeping in tune with their title, these expressionist artists were collectively interested in the using the color blue and creating work featuring horseback riders in order to promote messages of spirituality, power, and freedom.
When George Rodrigue began his Blue Dog paintings in the late 1980s, his painting career catapulted to worldwide success. By the 1990s, Rodrigue only focused on this subject, creating hundreds of paintings of the same Blue Dog in a myriad of settings and situations. According to the artist, “People who have seen a Blue Dog painting always remember it. They are really about life, about mankind searching for answers."
Looking to incorporate your favorite color into your space? We've made it simple for you. Check out our color palette feature on our website to find the perfect work of art for your wall. Check out a few of our recommendations below!