Arts & Activities  

      Color expert Dan Bartges is author of the book, "Color is Everything"
( Visit his website at
      Assignment 2 In A Series Of 10      
      Dan Bartges. Tiber Island, Rome. Oil.      
      Color scheme: Triad      
      Gustave Caillebotte (French; 1848–1894). A Man Docking His Skiff, 1878. Oil on canvas, 29" x 36". Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon. ©Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.      
      Color scheme: Triad      

Q1: What's the color scheme for Tiber Island, Rome?

A1: It's a triad, using orange, violet and green.

Q2: What color scheme did Gustave Caillebotte use for his 1878 painting, A Man Docking His Skiff?

A2: Basically, he also employed the triadic color scheme of violet, green and orange.

For advanced students, take a closer look at this painting. Notice how Caillebotte skillfully tweaked the colors to enhance the effect. He pushed some of the oranges toward yellow-orange and red-orange, some violets toward blue-violet and red-violet, and some greens toward blue-green and yellow-green. Why do these six "extraneous" colors work within the predominating triadic color scheme instead of clashing with it? It's because the six are actually three pairs of color complements, and complements always harmonize.

Q3: Why do you think Caillebotte painted this particular scene?

A3: Caillebotte loved boats, and was well known in his town for captaining racing yachts. Trained as an engineer, he also took great pleasure in designing racing yachts. Boats, especially sailboats and punts, are the subjects in a number of his paintings.


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