Red colour is perhaps the most controversial of all.
Its meaning in the history of mankind is marked with the biggest emotional amplitude, being perceived as warm or cool, “good” or “bad”, depending on psychosocial function and expression.
Saturated red is the shade which acts very intensely on our sympathetic nervous system. Stimulates, irritates, alerts, revives, excites.
From primeval history red has always been associated with life and death, love and hatred.
Red blood gives life. Red blood flowing out often causes death.
Life comes with vitality, strength, fertility, sex – where this colour has often been used to emphasize primary sex characteristics. For a long time red has been the colour attributed to women (as symbol of menstruation) and even prostitutes (woman associated with sex).
Furthermore, in human mentality notion of combat readiness has been added, of aggression, fighting spirit, demonstrating one’s supremacy over enemy in burning with pure red pennon on the battlefield, as well as respect, prosperity in the afterworld and getting support of the deceased in so called red burials.
There have been obviously further magical transformations when “the best” blood was coming from the most powerful animal (dragon), red circles/ribbons were to protect from all evil and scratched to blood wife’s skin was to give her deceased husband peace and happiness after crossing to the other side. And it has happened here and there that warriors were drinking blood of their courageous commanders to receive in this life-giving drink their strength and bravery or of the enemies, to raise one’s warrior prestige.
Red has been also for long time a symbol of courts, justice and inflicting punishment. Often the penalty was directly connected with blood and death hence executioner carrying out sentences wove red clothes. As he was a person held in high esteem and respect and at the same time despised and feared – it roused ambivalent feelings.
Here again red has become ambiguous. And that’s why I adore this colour.
For its aggressive vitality and ambiguity.
There is no humility in it. It simultaneously commands debauchery in life and slightly nods head accepting the unimaginable power of nature.
Light red (Saturn red) stands for fresh, joyful, still innocent eroticism. It Is like a dance of impressions still guessing wonderful profligacy of senses.
Intensive red (from) vermillion to carmine) is man’s desire. Passion which burns with amazing radiance of lust expects submission, burning and melting in rapture.
Dark red with cool shadow stands for expectation. She waits for renewed blaze, for stirring hidden longing forces. It is the redness of wine which stimulates teases, excites and sets on fire but half-opens in the density of darkness.
Red is the bridge between life and death.
Is inside me!
Striped Blouse – Pierre Bonnard
Light red as colour dominant in the work of my favourite colourist.