Thursday, June 21, 2007

In Living Colour

I'm a very visually driven person and I absolutely love colour. To be truthful, it's a love that borders on an obsession. I've studied quite a bit of art history over the years, read a lot about art and have even taken some colour theory studies for artists. I'm an art fag, it's true.

In particular I've always been really drawn to the beautiful jewel tones of lots of Medieval and Renaissance art. The dark reds, clear greens, rich blues and browns that are derived from a palette largely made from mineral pigments. I especially love the Northern Renaissance painters like Jan van Eyck, who seemed to have been able to make these colours glow even while embuing all of their works with the cool grey light of a Netherlandish winter.


Jan van Eyck's portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his bride, 1434.



So I was particularly excited to see the Apartment Therapy story about The Grammercy Park Hotel. The Grammercy Park Hotel recently reopened with a complete makeover inspired by this exact sort of colour palette, in this particular case based on the works of Raphael.




The 'Cowper Madonna' by Raphael, c1483-1520.



Oh my gah, I'm in love with these interiors! Weirdly such intensity of colour almost looks modern to me. Maybe because we've become so used to the ultra moderne white box by now, that to see such rich and vibrant colour handled so skillfully looks kind of new. Instead of very, very old like the inspiration it comes from.





It may be a bit much to have an entire house done in such a scheme, but I think it works beautifully for somewhere where a bit of drama is called for. Like a hotel, a nightclub, or in a home perhaps a dining room! Could you imagine a candelight dinner in a room such as these?







Fabulous.

17 comments:

Michael said...

OMG, that last bedroom makes my throat tight (in the very best way). J'adore.

There's a Michelangelo of the Holy Family in the Uffizi with just the kind of palette you describe. Rich.

http://tinyurl.com/2o8wx8

And then all of Raphael's rooms for Pope Julius in the Vatican....

Oh, Andrew, we just have to go to Italy together one day.

Michael said...

I actually have a colour very similar to that bedroom in a spare room that I've never gotten around to doing anything with beyond painting.

And you already know that my dining room is painted "Cowper Madonna's Dress" orange.

OK, I'll stop.

The Other Andrew said...

I'm packing my bags and moving into your spare room.

Italy, yes please.

Michael said...

I'm packing my bags and moving into your spare room.

You'd fit nicely, I'll bet.

Only I'm moving! To god knows where.....I may be homeless shortly.

And Italy. MUST. One day, darling.

Michael said...

Speaking of the Uffizi (tenuous segue), the Sartorialist was in Florence:

http://tinyurl.com/2vpheh

Ummm, fuck me gently with a chainsaw, Alfonso.

Mikey (TLE) said...

Man, the blue in that last shot on the throw and the chair is to die for. And I'm not necessarily a fan of blue.

You missed some amusement at Nat's pole dancing revue last night. Though when the instructor did a demo, there were a few too many "hello boys" maneuvers for me.

The Other Andrew said...

Homeless? Maybe lob announced onto the FreakGeek doorstep and watch the hilarity ensue!

I love Sart. He'd be like the best straight hottie spotting buddy a guy could hope for, you know? He'd be all "Dude, check that."

Mikey, sorry I missed the pole dancing but not sorry to miss the Hello Boys action!

Yes, that blue velvet is to die.

Baggy Trousers said...

They are beautiful rooms! I could SO spend a night or two or three...
The photos are appealing too. Nice lines, placement of rug pattern - very easy on the eye.

Yum!

Thought though - do you think that they will only appeal to people like us, with our crazy attachment to beautiful old art? It makes us purrrr, but will it make the modernists purr? They might want to do up the other half of the hotel with a different clientel in mind?

The Other Andrew said...

I guess the niche boutique hotel market is about catering to a particular customer with a very particular vision. Making that 'vision' or style be part of the attraction. By making the place so singular, it makes it a destination in itself, if you know what I mean. Adding a 'modernist' wing would dilute the brand and kill it I would think. I think it's about NOT trying to be all things to all people.

thombeau said...

Absolutely fabulous!

I've stayed at the Grammercy a number of times over the years...unfortunately, not recently. Still, it brings back some wonderful memories...

Ur-spo said...

i remember from art class the van eyck has a very small but precise backside portrait, in the mirror in the way back. look for it.

Mikey (TLE) said...

I heart the Sartorialist. Been reading for a while.

There is a photo of an old(er) woman on there at the moment. She of the black frock and white cut-away jacket.

She looks so fabulous. The best thing about the Sartoralist (and I'm not Robinson Crusoe here) is the diversity of looks that he captures. And of course, the way he clearly has with his subjects. They always seem pleased to have their photo taken.

Mikey (TLE) said...

With those hotel room colours and the "michael motivated" trip across to the Sartorialist, I am minded of that great Keats poem (contain yourselves) "Ode on a Grecian Urn" and its immortal line(s):

"Beauty is truth, truth beauty. That is all ye know on earth and all ye need to know".

Of course, it may be the couple of glasses of Chardonnay with my dinner of soft polenta...

yaniboy said...

OH! MY! GOD! I'm SOOOOOO loving all that scarlet... I love me some good red furniture, and combined with the green and the blue...

YUMMY!

And I've always had a thing for the type of chair in the foreground of the green room...

I think I might need to be alone with the pictures for a while...

Christopher said...

Giovanni reminds me of the kidnapper from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang...less the hook nose & net

The Other Andrew said...

With Mr Arnolfini it's really all about the HAT right? I mean, the fur lined poncho is like soooo 600 years ago, but the hat is to die.

Yani, glad you love!

Mikey (the lovely ex) you are always my Keats go to guy.

Ur-spo, I went over the Arnolfini portraight with a fine tooth comb in art class years ago - so many hidden treasures and symbolism!

Sherri said...

The reflection in the mirror is all I remember from art history class.

I love color like that. And no, it isn't too much to have a whole house done in it. Not all my colors are quite that saturated (except for the 17 foot high deep burgundy painted wall in my living room -- matches my velvet sofa, looks good with curved glass shelves on it) because furniture is pricy, but, yes. You can live with it happily. I do.