‘Monochrome’ surveys 700 years of black-and-white painting

A picture by Ellsworth Kelly titled ‘Black and White Bar I’, 1970. — AFP pic
A picture by Ellsworth Kelly titled ‘Black and White Bar I’, 1970. — AFP pic

LONDON, Oct 23 — The National Gallery in London opens an exhibition this month devoted — almost entirely — to painting in black-and-white.

The exhibition will take visitors through seven rooms, each addressing an aspect of painting in black, white and grey, also called “grisaille” and dating back to the Middle Ages, when the technique was used in devotional work included to focus the mind.

The technique has been used to imitate stone sculpture and, more recently, the effects of photography and film. The use of minimal colour is also seen in works by Ellsworth Kelly, Frank Stella and Cy Twombly, where it is used to maximize impact in abstract work.

More than 50 painted objects created over 700 years will be featured in the show, including works by Old Masters such as Van Eyck, Dürer and Rembrandt as well as contemporary artists including Gerhard Richter, Chuck Close and Bridget Riley.

Later, the show examines artists who have taken an interest in colour theory and the psychological effects of colour, manipulating hues to trigger particular responses in viewers.

Monochrome, of course, refers to the use of tones of any single colour and not necessary black and white, and one of the show’s deviations from black and white — Olafur Eliasson’s immersive light installation “Room for one colour” — is also one of its highlights. That work, which consists of a room bathed in yellow light, will bring the exhibition to a close.

“Monochrome: Painting in Black and White” opens October 30 and runs through February 18. — AFP-Relaxnews

Related Articles

Up Next