This post’s muse is two-fold.

Firstly —

At one point in time, I thought about adding an art history minor to my already very full schedule. I eventually settled on a Spanish minor as I really wanted to study abroad, but there are still days when I lament the loss of my hypothetical minor…

Secondly —

I’ve found continuous inspiration from color. I remember being a young kid, begging my mom to let me change the color of my bedroom walls from boring to something exciting. They were green, then they were purple, and since becoming an adult they’ve been reverted back to a light icy gray, a trendy neutral of the times.

As a kid, the idea of a boring room was like poison to me. I despised the pastels of the 90s with a passion; I wanted splashes of rainbow, streaks of red, bright bursts all over my space. (I now realize that texture is just as important to me as color is; I would currently be thrilled with white walls if they were decorated with some incredible panel molding.)

Back to the point —

I still find myself fascinated with color and its ability to stir memory and evoke emotion. And I still find myself continually so very into art. So I decided to take a walk through some centuries, talk about some of my favorite paintings from each century, and talk color.

1480 // Primavera — Sandro Botticelli

Something about this just draws me in. The central character, looking at the viewer coyly in that gorgeous orange-red (one of my all time favorite colors). The soft, gauzy overlay of the women on the left float like jelly fish and something about that is so poetic.

I’ve actually seen this and the following painting at the Uffizi in Florence, which I highly recommend visiting if you ever have the change. You can see some of my photos from Italy here.

1485 // The Birth of Venus — Sandro Botticelli

Okay so I’m cheating — two Botticelli’s because I couldn’t choose just one. I love this piece — can you see the squares of color I pulled? There’s something incredibly soft and spring-like about it; and how fitting that is for Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty. What a gorgeous color scheme, truly one of my favorites.

1512 // Creation of Adam — Michaelangelo

This piece is unique as it’s not hanging in a museum, but in the Vatican in the Sistine Chapel. It’s also rare because tourist photography isn’t allowed within that area, meaning that there are a lot fewer photos to be able to compare colors with. Again, I’ve seen this piece, the whole ceiling really, in person and I’ve got to be honest… I was a little underwhelmed in person. From my memory, the colors are actually warmer than this photo shows.

What means more to me is the symbolism — an iconic representation of humanity, illustrating God’s creation of Adam in Genesis

1610 // Judith Slaying Holofernes — Artemisia Gentileschi

For some, this Baroque painting may be a weird one (although in today’s political climate, I find it especially poignant). This story is pulled from the Catholic biblical book of Judith and depicts Judith sneaking into the castle to slay Holofernes, an Assyrian general who seized her city. Caravaggio also has a version, but I find this one superior in color, composition, and emotional output — likely heightened and influenced by Gentileschi’s own traumatic past.

1767 // The Swing — Jean-Honoré Fragonard

On the complete opposite end from Judith is The Swing. I mean seriously, is there anything more fun than this? The bright teal, the corals, the foliage and the whimsical fancy of it all. It’s lush, fantastical, and playful, almost teasing in nature. Something about it always reminds me of Marie Antoinette — blissfully unaware of everything going on around her and content to stay in her little bubble, flirting and having fun in her seclusion from the world.

1873 // The Port of Le Havre, Night Effect — Claude Monet

This palette — I loved it so much I used it for my own brand. JK! This piece was recently in Denver with the amazing Monet exhibit and this immediately popped out to me. It’s a large piece and that pop of almost neon red pops out at you across the room. In true Impressionist style, the movement is practically visceral but the shapes are nearly indeterminate.

Boulevard des Capucines — Claude Monet

I cheated again.

Blocks from the Champs-Élysées, the Louvre, and Jardin de Tuileries, lies the Boulevard des Capucines, the muse for Monet’s painting here. He was obsessed with light and the way that light changed the environment he was observing. And I wonder what he was observing here — the mill of people on a dreary winter’s day? A street vendor selling balloons to the passing children? Shoppings with their treasures?


1908 // The Kiss — Gustav Klimt

Now this is probably my favorite painting of all time but it’s probably my least favorite color palette that was pulled. Primary colors are some of my favorites, but together, I don’t the mix of the green and the mustard in addition to the red and pure yellow just don’t do it for me.

This is a perfect example of how texture changes everything. The gold background reflects, it illuminates. It’s different than flat yellow and lacks the luminescence of gold foil. Nothing beats the real thing, huh?

1963 // Drowning Girl — Roy Lichtenstein

Oh… something about this speaks to the stubborn part of me, plus it has features of my favorite colors. Millennial pink, icy sky blue, deep sapphire. Truly one of my favorites of all time! And what a gorgeous palette.

I find myself constantly and consistently inspired by many of the pieces that I’ve pulled as inspiration palettes for this post. I have more than one of these prints hanging in my home — could you guess which ones?

Till next time,