Jan Steen and Color Symbolism

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This is an introductory art lesson plan, for high school, on color symbolism. Here, Jan Steen’s paintings are used as a basis for a class discussion on how he may have chosen his dominant colors in each work in order to symbolize a certain mood or expression.

Text of Jan Steen and Color Symbolism


2. BLUE Faith Wisdom Loyalty Truth Heaven Trust FriendshipThe Doctors Visit, 16631665 3. RED Love Passion Fire Blood Sensitivity RomanceBathsheba Receiving Davids Letter, 1659 4. YELLOW Happiness Joy Energy Intellect Creativity FreshnessNights End in a Tavern 5. ORANGE Adventure Creativity Excitement Pleasure Wisdom Wealth The Dissolute Household, 1668 6. GREEN Growth Harmony Fertility & Vitality Stability Hope Healing & Balance Peace Arrival of a Visitor 7. WHITE Purity Truth Innocence Protection HealingThe Continence of Scipio, late 1660s 8. BLACK Sadness & Mourning Despair Elegance Power Formality Burgher of Delft and hisDaughter, 1655 9. PURPLEPowerLuxuryAmbitionWisdomDignityCreativityMagicThe Dancing Couple, 1663 10. PINK Appreciation & Gratitude Happiness Admiration Friendships Compassion & HarmonyThe Merry Threesome 11. BROWN Friendship Homeliness Concentration Courage Energy Twelfth Night, 1662