Monday, January 21, 2008

Blue Monday

Mark Rothko, "Untitled" (Blue Divided by Blue), 1966, 33.62" x 25.71"

I was watching the news this morning only to discover that this is "Blue Monday" - the most depressing day of the year according to some calculations. In fact, at - they've broken down the formula of what makes today so depressing, writing;

"Blue Monday’ is the worst day of the year according to a mathematical equation. The equation was first devised by Dr. Cliff Arnall, former lecturer at Cardiff University and founder of No Pills, a consultancy specialising in confidence, motivation and happiness. Blue Monday marks the start of the final full week in January when people experience a series of combined depressive effects. The mathematical equation is:

The model was broken down using 6 immediately identifiable factors; weather (W), debt (d), time since Christmas (T), time since failing our new year’s resolutions (Q), low motivational levels (M) and the feeling of a need to take action (Na).The equation calculates that Monday, January 21, 2008 is officially the worst day of the year, when the Christmas glow has faded away, New Year’s resolutions have been broken, cold Winter weather has set in and credit card bills will be landing on doormats across the land - whilst the January pay-check is still one week away..."

Well despite the odds being stacked against us today, I'm going to highlight a few great pieces of art that make blue something to be happy about, beginning with a blue pigment that at one time was (literally) worth more than gold in renissance painting; Lapis Luzuli:

According to Marion Boddy-Evans at, Lapis Lazuli was used to make ultramarine paint, and "during the early Renaissance (fourteenth and fifteenth centuries), when pure, intense color was regarded as a reflection of God’s glory. The three purest colors were ultramarine, gold, and vermilion. Ultramarine was described by Cennino Cennini, the 15th century Italian artist who wrote on the techniques of the great masters, as “illustrious, beautiful, and most perfect, beyond all other colors”. Artists reserved it for the most revered of subjects, such as the robes of the Madonna and Christ. " Raphael often used this prized pigment in his Madonna paintings, like "Madonna dell Granduca", from 1505:

Raphael, "Madonna dell Granduca" c. 1505 (110 kB); Oil on wood, 84 x 55 cm (33 x 21 1/2 in)

Another artist who had a accomplished and inspiring use of the color blue is Joseph Cornell, especially in his box constructions:

Joseph Cornell, "Medici Princess", (CA. 1952)Painted wood, photomechanical reproductions, painted & colored glass, painted paper, string, cork, metal rings, plastic balls, and a feather, in glass-faced, painted wood box17 5/8 x 12 1/4 x 4 3/4 in. (44.5 x 31.1 x 12.1 cm.)
Joseph Cornell, "Untitled" (Penny Arcade Portrait of Lauren Bacall)1945-46Construction20 1/2 x 16 x 3 1/2 in.

1 comment:

Ayres said...

The art you have posted in this is exquisite. The associations are brilliantly hallucinogenic, even though there may be a strong current of sobriety in the text.

I used the rothko image in a meditation on my own weblog, I pray you will not disapprove too strongly thereto.


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