Brown is a composite color. In the CMYK color model used in printing or painting, brown is made by combining red, black, and yellow, or red, yellow, and blue. In the RGB color model used to project colors onto television screens and computer monitors, brown is made by combining red and green, in specific proportions. The brown color is seen widely in nature, in wood, soil, human hair color, eye color and skin pigmentation. Brown is the color of dark wood or rich soil. According to public opinion surveys in Europe and the United States, brown is the least favorite color of the public; the color is most often associated with plainness, the rustic and poverty.
History and art
Brown has been used in art since prehistoric times. Paintings using umber, a natural clay pigment composed of iron oxide and manganese oxide, have been dated to 40,000 BC. Paintings of brown horses and other animals have been found on the walls of the Lascaux cave dating back about 17,300 years. The female figures in ancient Egyptian tomb paintings have brown skin, painted with umber. Light tan was often used on painted Greek amphorae and vases, either as a background for black figures, or the reverse.
The Ancient Greeks and Romans produced a fine reddish-brown ink, of a color called sepia, made from the ink of a variety of cuttlefish. This ink was used by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and other artists during the Renaissance, and by artists up until the present time.
In Ancient Rome, brown clothing was associated with the lower classes or barbarians. The term for the plebeians, or urban poor, was “pullati”, which meant literally “those dressed in brown”.
In the Middle Ages brown robes were worn by monks of the Franciscan order, as a sign of their humility and poverty. Each social class was expected to wear a color suitable to their station; and grey and brown were the colors of the poor. Russet was a coarse homespun cloth made of wool and dyed with woad and madder to give it a subdued grey or brown shade. By the statute of 1363, poor English people were required to wear russet. The medieval poem Piers Plowman describes the virtuous Christian:
And is gladde of a goune of a graye russet
As of a tunicle of Tarse or of trye scarlet.
In the Middle Ages dark brown pigments were rarely used in art; painters and book illuminators artists of that period preferred bright, distinct colors such as red, blue and green, rather than dark colors. The umbers were not widely used in Europe before the end of the fifteenth century; The Renaissance painter and writer Giorgio Vasari (1511–1574) described them as being rather new in his time.
Artists began using far greater use of browns when oil painting arrived in the late fifteenth century. During the Renaissance, artists generally used four different browns; raw umber, the dark brown clay mined from the earth around Umbria, in Italy; raw sienna, a reddish-brown earth mined near Siena, in Tuscany; burnt umber, the Umbrian clay heated until it turned a darker shade, and burnt sienna, heated until it turned a dark reddish brown. In Northern Europe, Jan van Eyck featured rich earth browns in his portraits to set off the brighter colors.
17th and 18th century
The 17th and 18th century saw the greatest use of brown. Caravaggio and Rembrandt Van Rijn used browns to create chiaroscuro effects, where the subject appeared out of the darkness. Rembrandt also added umber to the ground layers of his paintings because it promoted faster drying. Rembrandt also began to use new brown pigment, called Cassel earth or Cologne earth. This was a natural earth color composed of over ninety percent organic matter, such as soil and peat. It was used by Rubens and Anthony van Dyck, and later became commonly known as Van Dyck brown.
19th and 20th century
Brown was generally hated by the French impressionists, who preferred bright, pure colors. The exception among French 19th-century artists was Paul Gauguin, who created luminous brown portraits of the people and landscapes of French Polynesia.
In the late 20th century, brown became a common symbol in western culture for simple, inexpensive, natural and healthy. Bag lunches were carried in plain brown paper bags; packages were wrapped in plain brown paper. Brown bread and brown sugar were viewed as more natural and healthy than white bread and white sugar.
Source From Wikipedia