This extraordinary version of Ingres' Grande Odalisque (1814) is by Martial Raysse, produced in 1964. The beautiful, languid harem queen has been suffused in a jade green hue. The original was hardly realistic, but the tastes of the time saw it as an iconic sexual adventure. The simple act of turning her green eclipses her eroticism and suggests that it is a piece of preposterous kitsch. Raysse's version is produced entirely by mechanical means; and the addition of real feathers only goes to make the final statement look artificial.
Colouring up Picasso's black and white anti-war protest Guernica with the pinks, soft greens, baby blues and sunny yellows that the artist sometimes used in his portraits of children would surely alter viewers' perceptions.
Through reproductions, Van Gogh's Still Life: Vase with fifteen sunflowers (1888) is hard to regard objectively. But the way the artist flooded his canvas with vibrant colour, which has no contrast in the picture with any other range of tones, is quite masterly. The whole picture consists of variations on yellow and green - it makes you wonder why we so often stress the value of a colour by contrast with its opposite. The whole space is subsumed with yellow. Blues and greens are only minimally represented.
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