Colour Research

Spoken languages and the language of colours have developed simultaneously in our society, and black and white were the first colours to get their names (Edwards 2004, p. 157). Colour according to Itten’s is 'a person’s reaction to the spiritual sensation' (Ormiston 2007, p. 15), while Kandinsky calls colour a 'vibration from soul' (Malorny 2007, p. 64). These definitions indicate that if an artist is able to stir the correct chord of colour, colour has the ability to vibrate the soul of a viewer and synchronize it with an unseen world. Kandinsky’s viewpoint that the 'colour is a keyboard, the eye is the hammer, the soul is the piano with many strings…' (Kandinsky 1977, p. 43) thoroughly elaborates this idea. As the human intellect kept on developing, colours acquired new meanings and artists exploited their use to express themselves in their works. For example, black was used to denote 'dead nothingness after the extinguishment of sun,' white 'great silence,' grey 'soundless and mobile' and violet 'sickly and sad' (Ruhrberg 2005, p. 106; Droste 2006, p. 67).


We can see the use of colours by artists to convey a spiritual feel in these examples. Interestingly, the colours do not resemble with the skin tone, hat, background, or the cosmos, of the above paintings, however, these invented colours call for an action and reflection. I think these colours demonstrate the ability of an artist to cut off from the material world and present an unseen spiritual dimension, where colours are more vibrant and soulful. Artist teachers engaged in teaching spirituality in art classes can use these examples and develop new ones based on the principles of 'inner necessity.'


• Droste, M. (2006). Bauhaus. USA: Taschen.

• Edwards. B, (2004). Colors: A Course in Mastering the Art of Mixing Colors. USA: Penguin.

• Kandinsky, W. (1977). Concerning the Spiritual in Art. Translated by Sadler, M. New York: Dover Publications.

• Malorny. U, (2007). Kandinsky. USA: Tachen.

• Ormiston. R, and Robinson. M, (2007). Colour Source Book. London: Flame Tree Publishing.

• Ruhrberg, K. (2005). Art of the 20th Century (Volume 1). USA: Taschen.