The color red is mostly associated with love, desire and passion; however, it has a long history of notions differing from one culture to another. Namely, in the visible spectrum of light, red is next to orange and opposite to violet, and is the dominant color in the RGB model. The variations of the same span the brilliant yellow-tinged scarlet and vermillion, and bluish-red crimson, with an array of shades from the pale red-pink to the dark red burgundy. Various natural phenomena are colored in red, from the Grand Canyon and other geological features, over our blood and various fruits, to the planet Mars.
When it comes to art, red has a special place since it was the first color used in the prehistoric times. Namely, the humans used a red pigment made from ochre, while the later ancient civilizations like the Egyptians and the Mayans used to color their faces red in rituals. On the other hand, in China, this particular color was used for pottery as well as in architectural purposes. Throughout the centuries, the symbolism became standardized, while during the 19th century the first synthetic red was produced in Europe.
The color red was historically associated with danger, courage, and sacrifice, which has to do with our blood being of the same color. In modern times, in a majority of European and American societies, red is perceived as the color mostly associated with heat, activity, passion, sexuality, anger, love and joy, while in India, China and other Asian countries, it symbolizes happiness and good fortune. It is also the color of the Papal attire, as well as a color of the revolution embraced by left political movements.
In order to bring you closer the use of red in contemporary art, we decided to feature a selection of ten exquisite artworks which you can add to your collection right away.
Featured image: Marc Quinn – At the Far Edges of the Universe 2, 2010. All images courtesy of their respective galleries.
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