Is Now The Bluest Time In Art?

Allison Meier asks: ‘How blue is the visual art of our era? Interpreting the data of 94,526 paintings created between 1800 CE and 2000 CE, Martin Bellander, a PhD student at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, discovered that blue has increased in art while orange has become less common. (Pictured is Claude Monet, “Impression, soleil levant (sunrise)” (1872).) Bellander was inspired by projects like data analyst Edmund Helmer’s 2013 look at the oranges and blues in film trailers, and relied on the BBC’s Your Paintings online database, Google Art Project, Wikiart, and museum sources to select 130,000 paintings and cut any without defined dates. Scraping information with R statistical software, a random selection of 100 pixels was taken from each piece and graphed over time, showing the increasing dominance of the moody blue tones.’

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