Author (Your Name)

Edwin Gow, Colby College

Date of Award


Document Type

Senior Scholars Paper (Open Access)


Colby College. Art Dept.


Carpenter, James


Previous to the twentieth century, painting could have been defined as the reproduction of the images of objects with pigments. However, subject matter and objects as representations have been denied existence by many of our twentieth century painters, and unless we are to deny all this as painting -- and many might be inclined to do so - we must find a new definition. If this is to include the tremendous variety of what is now called painting, our definition must necessarily be very general. We may term painting, as it is used herein, as the application of pigment on a surface whose completion is intended as a work of art. While considering the uses of color and light, its limitations and the problems posed for the artist in painting, we must ask and attempt to answer some very fundamental questions. Are color and light the same thing in painting? And if not how can we distinguish between the two? These are not simple questions. As we examine the work of Vermeer, of the Impressionists, and of the major post-impressionists, we will be asking these questions. The answers will differ.


Light in art, Post-impressionism (Art), Painting, Modern -- 19th century, Painting, Modern -- 20th century