If you look at how the space is constructed in this, you see cooler violets and blues in the background, and the yellow and the pinks and the reds coming forward in space. But that principle of brighter coming forward is perfectly exemplified in this red which is darker than the pink next to it, but it’s closer to a true red in the color wheel. And so it comes forward to our eye because it’s so close to a primary red, we are getting close to a primary red and essentially he understands that and that’s how he is using that.
Now we are getting into an almost Pointillist technique, so the dabs of color are becoming smaller and this whole idea that your eye will put together these dabs of color and make a unified whole. If you note the direction, the direction of the dots is important because in some cases he is using a vertical dab, in some cases it’s horizontal and I think that’s really important. But even more important is how the violet in the background along the horizon line is made up of so many colors that when you walk up to the painting it’s all these dabs of colors but then when you stand back and you get viewing distance, your eye puts together all those colors and creates a very rich unified form.
But again, this surface has that same unified feeling that we see in the Delacroix painting which is so different, but at the same time you look at this and you go, this is all being worked on simultaneously because all these colors are so influencing one another, they have to be changed and adapted as the artist moves through creating this composition as a whole.
David Marquis worked on the restoration of this painting. He will tell you all about it, when you press the Green button.