The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2019 - 13

revealed that many statues were brightly painted, as were temple friezes and columns. The
tradition of highly decorated interiors continued up to the Renaissance.
In addition, colour was seen as a sign of wealth or noble status. The purple togas of emperors
and consuls in ancient Rome were coloured with a dye extracted from small mollusks found
only in the Tyrian Sea. One gram of this colour required about 10,000 snails.
Returning to the lack of colour that has been a feature of architecture for the past 500 years
or so, the first incidents of "white washing" happened during the Protestant Reformation in the
16th century, marking a schism between the Lutheran Protestants and the Roman Catholics.
When Catholic churches fell into Protestant hands, they were stripped bare of statues, stained
glass, paintings of saints and other religious content. In this iconoclastic endeavor, not only were
paintings removed, but walls were painted white, so that the parishioners would not be distracted
from their belief and closeness to God, as Jonathan Glancey so impressively describes in "The
Land of Colour." Even today, Protestant churches are fairly simple and maintain minimal décor.
The Reformation was followed by the Counter-Reformation or Catholic Reformation, which ended
in the Baroque period. Absolute monarchy and a triumphant church once again asserted their
authority over the individuals who had gained recognition and autonomy during the Renaissance.
Baroque was characterized by the desire to evoke emotions by appealing to the senses, often
in dramatic ways, through sensuous richness, vitality, exuberance, motion and light as well
as colour. Buildings were painted in pastel colours as an expression of heightened sensual
experience, together with a theatrical orchestration of architecture, sculpture, painting and
light effects. Curiously, there is a recent trend to paint the interiors of Baroque churches white,
which helps to accentuate the curvature of the ornamentation and the play of light and shadow.
The Baroque era ended dramatically with the storming of the Bastille in 1789. As a reaction to the uncontrolled emotionality of Baroque and the subsequent Rococo architecture, the
Classicist movement reintroduced the formal strength and clarity of Greek and Roman temples.
When architects and artists travelled to Greece, they found only ruins that were stripped of any
colour, having been exposed to the elements over the centuries. They overlooked - or were
unaware of - the fact that the ancient temples were originally richly painted and decorated.
Therefore the idea of bare stone edifices became the standard for any neo-classicistic building,
such as the British Museum in London, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and the Metropolitan
Museum in New York. The only variation was to paint the building white, as in the case of the
White House in Washington, D.C. The first Classicist building in Paris was the Panthéon. Its
builder, Germain Soufflot, studied and measured the monuments in Greece for five years before
he started construction.
In the late 18th century, with the introduction of the Romantic period, the tide was slowly
changing again. This era is characterized by the celebration of nature, beauty, self-expression
and imagination, along with the rejection of rationalism, organized religion and industrialization. Buildings such as Buckingham Palace, the Royal Pavilion in Brighton and Sacré-Coeur in
Paris are examples of this period. While the emphasis was on ornamentation and neo-gothic
structures, colour was finding its way back into architecture. Interesting in this context is the
colour theory of Rudolf Steiner, Austrian philosopher, social reformer and architect. Based on
his theories, he developed the Waldorf education system, whose school buildings have no right

View onto the
exterior of
the Slaight
Performance Hall.
PHOTO SOURCE:
GERALD QUERUBIN
ENTRO

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The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2019

Colour
Index to Advertisers
Locations
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2019 - Intro
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2019 - cover1
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2019 - cover2
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2019 - 3
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2019 - 4
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2019 - 5
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2019 - Colour
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2019 - 7
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2019 - 8
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2019 - 9
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2019 - 10
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2019 - 11
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2019 - 12
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2019 - 13
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2019 - 14
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2019 - Index to Advertisers
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2019 - 16
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2019 - 17
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2019 - Locations
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2019 - cover3
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2019 - cover4
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