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5 Historical Palettes: Constable, Goya, Delacroix, Cezanne, and Eakins

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Evelyn McCorristin Peters: 5 Historical Palettes: Constable, Goya, Delacroix, Cezanne, and Eakins

Evelyn McCorristin Peters

Fine art for everyone

10.15.2009

5 Historical Palettes: Constable, Goya, Delacroix, Cezanne, and Eakins

Many painters upon observing a fellow artist who displays a mastery of color believe they must have some "magic" color that has solved all their color challenges. This grasp of color usually comes from a deep knowledge of the colors they use and how they relate to the subject.

Over the years color palettes have varied, but they have remained simple and cohesive. As scientific knowledge expanded the colors available, most painters maintained a variety of a classic palette and experimented with others sometimes expanding their palette. The classic palette usually included a white, ochre, umber, red oxide, black, brilliant yellow, brilliant red, bright blue and brilliant rose.

Many historical palettes were relatively limited in the number of colors, and relied on hues that were easily intermixable and compatible. For most artists a basic, classic palette is a great start. After establishing a working knowledge with these colors, one can go on to experiment with others to compliment their work.

Here are the historical palettes of five artists throughout the ages. (Click on the name of the artist for more information.)

John Constable                                                                                                           
English, 1776 - 1837

* lead white
* yellow ochre
* umber
* red earth
* emerald green
* ultramarine blue
* Prussian blue
* black

Francisco Jose de Goya                                

Spanish, 1746 - 1828

* lead white
* Naples yellow
* yellow ochre
* brown ochre
* light red
* vermilion
* burnt sienna
* crimson lake
* cobalt blue
* raw umber
* burnt umber
* ivory black

Eugene Delacroix

French, 1798 - 1863

* lead white
* vermilion
* Naples yellow
* yellow ochre
* Verona brown
* ru ochre
* raw sienna
* red brown
* burnt sienna
* crimson lake
* Prussian blue
* peach black
* ivory black
* Cassel earth
* bitumen

Paul Cezanne 

French, 1839 - 1906

* white
* brilliant yellow
* Naples yellow
* chrome yellow
* yellow ochre
* raw sienna
* vermilion
* burnt sienna
* red madder
* crimson lake
* burnt lake
* Veronese green
* emerald green
* Verona earth
* cobalt blue
* ultramarine blue
* Prussian blue
* peach black


Thomas Eakins   

American, 1844 - 1916

* white
* cadmium yellow
* vermilion
* light red
* rose
* vurnt sienna
* permanent blue
* Vandyke brown
* black

* Palette lists drawn from: Alla Prima: A contemporary Guide to Traditional Direct Painting, Al Gury, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York, 2008.

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