What the Palette Has to Say

A friend recently sent me a link to this Telegraph article, which discusses the palettes of several French painters from the 19th century. It’s a really interesting article, and it’s fun to see the how the methodology, artistic style, personality of an artist is revealed in his/her palette. Here are two examples from the article that I thought were especially interesting:

Seurat’s palette for La Grande Jatte (1884) was heavily ordered by Chevruel’s color theory (which was popular among Impressionist painters at the time). Look at how Seurat kept the colors on his palette rigidly organized.
Delacroix’s palette is especially interesting to me. I’ve never thought of Delacroix as being an extremely meticulous person, but look at how he orders and arranges his palette. In a way, this orderly arrangement reminds me of how Delacroix was extremely concerned with the composition of his paintings. I’ve always been struck with how the triangular composition of Liberty Leading the People (1830) is very well-considered, especially when examining the different gestures and lines that form the triangle.
Which artist’s palette do you like best? (Note: There are several other images of palettes in the article, not just these two.) What part of the article did you find most interesting?
  • The Clever Pup says:

    Really interesting. Neither is messy enough for me to like though. More colour!!

  • heidenkind says:

    I liked Moreau's palette. It looked ridiculously happy. I never would have thought of him using so many pastels and jewel tones in his work, but now that I've seen that and considered it, I realize that he did.

  • e says:

    I actually really love Delacroix's palette. I think it is very beautiful. I love the simpleness of it and the colors of the paint. Sometimes the real art is in the tools.

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This blog focuses on making Western art history accessible and interesting to all types of audiences: art historians, students, and anyone else who is curious about art. Alberti’s Window is maintained by Monica Bowen, an art historian and professor.