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A riot of red: Edgar Degas’s Combing the Hair (La Coiffure) is part of the Making Colour exhibition

In its latest exhibition [2014], the National Gallery examines how generations of painters have created and used colour. But how do people who are “colour-blind” view art?

Visitors to the Making Colour exhibition, which opened in London this week, can feast their eyes on the rich tones of lapis lazuli, vermilion and verdigris.

In the National Gallery’s colour-themed show, the paintings include a blue room containing Claude Monet’s Lavacourt under Snow (1878-81) and – in the red room – Edgar Degas’s Combing the Hair (La Coiffure) from 1896.

But to anyone who has a colour vision deficiency, commonly known as colour blindness, the bold reds that dominate the Degas work may look very different.

The subject of colour blindness is tackled in an interactive part of the exhibition devoted to the science behind colour vision.

Claude Monet’s Lavacourt under Snow (1878-81) is also part of the exhibition

The retina at the back of eye contains light sensors called cones. The three cone types – red, green and blue – are stimulated by different wavelengths of light.

Most colour-blind people have three types of cone, but they are sensitive to a different part of the spectrum.

By Tim Masters – who has first hand experience of colour blindness
The earliest sign that I was colour-blind was, according to my parents, when I drew a picture of Doctor Who’s Tardis – and made it shocking pink.

When I tell people I’m colour-blind some assume I see the world in black and white.

That’s far from the truth. I can see rainbows. I just don’t see them in the same way as most people…

Source: BBC News: How the colour-blind see art with different eyes.

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The fascinating story of Edgar Degas and Miss Lala, the Iron Jaw Acrobat.

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

The Circus Girl Blog

paintings-by-hilaire-germain-edgar-degas-8

Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas’s Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando is an oil on canvas (46 x 30-1/2 inches), which belongs to The National Gallery, London

Circus performer Miss Lala was born Anna Olga Albertina Brown to Wilhelm Brown and Marie Christine Borchardt, on April 21 1858 in the former German (but now Polish) city of Stettin (Szczecin).

Lala who was of mixed race, was also known as, Olga Kaira or Kaire, “Olga the Mulatto”, “Olga the Negress”, “The Venus of the Tropics”, “The Cannon Woman” and “The African Princess.” Olga was the name of Lala’s sister, Olga Marie Brown, who had died at five months old, almost three years before she was born.

Although she was small of stature, Lala possessed incredible strength. She was an all-round circus artist and she worked at various times as a trapeze artist, a hand balancer, a wire walker, a strength artist and an iron…

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