Standing in front of a wall of paint chips was the inspiration for this post.  It got me thinking about colors.  I love colors.  It’s hard for me to pick a favorite or least favorite color.  I tend to gravitate towards the cooler colors, but I’m a sucker for a retro print full of reds, oranges and yellows as well.  There’s no denying that colors can be beautiful.  Black and white works can be beautiful too though.  So what is color’s role in beauty?

            I believe it was Kant who said that color has no place in beauty, or something to that effect (I’m too lazy to look it up, but it’d be somewhere in the 3rd Critique).  I think Kant’s view is a little bit extreme, but it does make you think.  I think color does have a place in beauty, since colors themselves can be beautiful.  But color is not needed for beauty.  I think it really varies piece by piece.  You can’t just slather color on something and expect it to be beautiful.  But neither can you expect something to be beautiful just because it’s black and white.  It makes me think of sculpture.  A lot of the old statues and monuments were originally painted and very colorful.  Through the centuries the paint has chipped away or faded so we can only see them as whatever the color of their medium.  We find them beautiful as they are now, but were they more beautiful then with all their color?  Or did the color take away from the beauty of the sculpture?  It’s hard to say.  Maybe a test of beauty is if it can be beautiful in color and in black and white (or I guess just without color).  But I’m not sure even that works, since bright, colorful sunsets are beautiful, but they wouldn’t be nearly as impressive without the color.

            I’m sure I’d feel differently if I were colorblind and couldn’t see some or any colors.  I’m sure if it’s something you were born with colorblindness isn’t that bad.  But personally I think it’d be very depressing to not see the world in all its colorful glory.  I feel so torn.  I want to say that it’s not color that makes things beautiful, but the colors themselves are beautiful, so I don’t know.  Color definitely has a place in beauty; it’s just a bit tricky figuring out the degree of its importance.

color vs. black and white:

color flowers by me, 2010

black and white flowers by me, 2010