Blue Period: Analyzing the Color of Paintings with R

The image above shows the color spectrum of almost 100,000 paintings created since 1800.

In an article for Significance magazine, Martin suggests a few possible reasons why paintings are getting bluer with time:

  • The colour blue is a relatively new colour word.
  • An increase in dark colours or black might drive the effect if these contain more blue or if the camera register them as blue to a larger extent.
  • The colours in paintings tend to change over time, e.g. due to the aging of resins.
  • Blue has historically been a very expensive colour, and the decreasing price and increased supply might explain the increased use.

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