Orange - a combination of red and yellow, the color shares some aspects of the symbolism of these colors. It can represent the point of balance between the passion of red and the spirituality of yellow. [3.] Orange might symbolize luxury and splendor but it can also mean the renunciation of worldly pleasures. For example, Buddhist monks wear orange to affirm their adoption of a simple life. [3.] In antiquity Roman brides wore orange as a symbol of the permanence of marriage.[3.]
What the energy of the color orange means in the 21st century? From time to time, it has been widely used and has been popular among fashion designers. Orange is the color of joy and creativity. Orange promotes a sense of general wellness and emotional energy that should be shared, such as compassion, passion, and warmth. [7.]
In the broader sense orange is often associated with autumn leaves, pumpkins...With the change in color of the autumn leaves, orange often represents the changing seasons. Because of it’s association with change, orange is often used as a transitional color or to represent a transition or change of some kind.[ 7.]
What has historically been the role of orange color? That's the story about that.
The Origins Of Orange Color
This color was already known in Ancient Egypt. The orange color appeared alongside the yellow and was often used in wall paintings, as artists used an orange mineral pigment (realgar). Orange pigments were also prepared from a mineral known as orpiment. It was an important item of trade in the Roman Empire. Orpiment was also used as a medicine in China... Although it contains arsenic and is highly toxic. Because of its yellow-orange color, orpiment was also a favorite among alchemists, because they were searching for a way to make gold. [ 12.]
The next era when orange is appearing in the arena of history is Renaissance. Although the color orange existed in Western culture even before the late 15th century, but without the name. It was simply called yellow-red. And indeed, in the Renaissance, the orange color (yellow-red) was used, but it was an alternative of red.
The peasants and middle ranked persons imitated upper class reds by dyeing their clothing with cheaper orange-red and russet dyes. [1.] However, this orange and vivid effect arose, as seen in many artworks of the Renaissance era.
And then this fruit appeared in Europe called orange. Portuguese merchants brought the first orange trees to Europe from Asia in the late 15th and early 16th century, along with the Sanskrit word naranga, which gradually became part of several European languages: "naranja" in Spanish, "laranja" in Portuguese, and "orange" in English. [12.]
The Color Of Inspiration
The 17th century pointed to golden yellow as a magnificent color of barocco, but in the 18th century we often see orange. It was sometimes used to depict clothing of Pomona, the ancient goddess of fruitful abundance. coincidence or not, but her name came from the Latin word the pomon, meaning fruit. Oranges themselves became more common in northern Europe, thanks to the 17th century invention of the heated greenhouse, a building type which became known as an orangerie.  During that time orange color was associated with inspiration. Maybe that's why French artist Jean-Honoré Fragonard depicted "inspiration" wearing orange clothing in one of his paintings dated with 1769.
By the end of the 18th century the orange hues were close to each other. That was a time when a class of natural pigments made from lead chromate, first developed in the late 1790's by the French chemist Louis Vauquelin, superceded both Turner's Patent yellow and Orpiment, due to their improved opacity, their bright hues and low price. However, they in turn were replaced during the 19th century by the Cadmium family of colors. [6.]
It is quite possible that color orange also affects sound. The ingredients of Antonio Stradivari’s orange varnish remain a mystery to this day. Stradivari was a renowned maker of stringed instruments in 18th century Italy, and 300 years later his violins became priceless. It is now believed that the orange varnish is what gives Stradivarius violins their exquisite sound. [5.]
The Color Of Impression
Orange became an important color for the impressionist painters. They all had studied the recent books on color theory, and they knew that orange placed next to azure blue made both colors much brighter. Auguste Renoir painted boats with stripes of chrome orange paint straight from the tube. It is worth mentioning that the invention of the metal paint tube in 1841, made it possible for artists to paint outdoors and to capture the colors of natural light. [12.] Henry de Toulouse-Lautrec used a palette of yellow, black and orange in his posters of Paris cafes and theaters. He often used oranges in the skirts of dancers and gowns of Parisians in the cafes and clubs he portrayed. For him it was the color of festivity and amusement. [ 12.]
In Britain orange became highly popular among the Pre-Raphaelites and history painters. The flowing red-orange hair of Elizabeth Siddal, a model and a muse of Pre-Raphaelite artists, became a symbol of the movement. Lord Frederic Leighton, the president of the Royal Academy, created a painting called "Flaming June", in which a young woman in an apricot orange gown is asleep under an oleander plant. The painting, one of Leighton’s last, became an emblem of Victorian art, reproduced around the world today.[4.]
In the second part of the 20th Century and in 21st Century orange is considered as strong and extra powerful color. Its strength is intensified by the fact that many women consider it a difficult color to wear. When it appears as a fashion trend, orange tends to act as the exception, rather than the rule. During his time at Jil Sander, Raf Simons developed a new palette of minimalism for women where joyful orange would often be the only bright color in a sea of black and white and grey. Memorably the Autumn/Winter 2009 collection brought forward flashes of sculptural orange, deep and vivid, in among a powerful, and mostly monochrome, collection. [4.]
Nevertheless, many examples prove that orange, when used skillfully, may become a powerful tool of fashion, something luxurious to celebrate the body and the woman who wears it. Orange, a color sometimes previously read as loud or tacky, now becomes subtly decadent. [4.]
References & Further Reading:
1. Greenfield A.B. A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire. - New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2005
2. Heller E. Psychologie de la couleur: Effets et symboliques. - Editions Pyramyd, 2009.
3. Signs & Symbols. An Illustrated Guide To Their Origins And Meanings. /Project Editor: Kathryn Wilkinson. - London, New York, Munich, Melbourne, Delhi: Dorling Kindersley Limited, 2008.
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