Arts & Activities  

      Color expert Dan Bartges is author of the book, "Color is Everything"
( Visit his website at
      Assignment 1 In A Series Of 10      
      Eastman Johnson (American, 1824–1906). A Ride for Liberty—The Fugitive Slaves, March 2, 1862. Oil on board; 21.5" x 26". Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Paul Mellon Collection. ©Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.      
      Color Scheme: Complementary      
      Dan Bartges. Spiderwort in a Bottle. Oil.      
      Color Scheme: Tetrad      

Q1: In A Ride for Liberty, what are two ways the painting conveys
the sense of speed?

A1: There are several, including the horse’s streaming mane and tail, the woman’s flowing dress and the galloping hooves.

Q2: What color scheme was used in Spiderwort in a Bottle?

A2: The four colors—orange with blue and red-violet with yellow-green—make a tetrad.

Q3: What’s the color scheme for Eastman Johnson’s A Ride for Liberty?

A3: Johnson used the popular complementary color scheme of blue and orange. The artist’s choice of contrasting colors helps underscore the painting’s thematic series of contrasts, including freedom versus slavery, day versus night and the future versus the past.


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