Palette of Art

Palette of Art is a poster series investigating the frequency of color occurrence in famous masterpieces throughout history. The series interprets color through an adaptive color wheel, highlighting the relationships among the colors and encouraging viewers to interact with their favorite paintings in a different way—through a singular construct that emphasizes color over content.

This piece was shortlisted at the Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards 2019.

2019

Technical Process

  1. For each piece, digital true color reproductions are obtained from the Web Gallery of Art
  2. RGB values are then extracted from each pixel of the digital file
  3. An adaptive color palette of 256 colors is generated using a median-cut algorithm
  4. Each original color is mapped to the closest matching color from the palette
  5. The occurrence of each new color is calculated
  6. Color circles are generated and sized based on the frequency of their occurence
  7. An HSL color wheel is generated, and each color circle is mapped via polar coordinates using hue and lightness

Working Constraints

  • Due to expected limitations in digital reproductions, true color representations in sourced images may not fully reflect color in the original pieces. A color sensor and controlled lighting environment would be the best way to extract the most accurate colors.
  • Each color palette was reduced to a fixed 256 colors. This does not necessarily fully capture overall perceptions of color in the paintings.