Can you recognise an artwork by its colours? We invite you to take our Tate collection colour palette quiz!
Over the coming weeks we’ll be talking about all things colour, spurred on by Matisse’s colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern and the primary colours of Mondrian’s studios at Tate Liverpool; and to kick off we want to ask you: can you tell an artwork by its colours (a bit like ‘name that tune’ for artworks)?
Corresponding with 18 popular artworks in our collection, we’ve created 18 colour palettes. Is colour alone enough to trigger the memory of an entire composition I hear you ask? The palettes have been created to give a visual sense of the work - but you might find in some cases that they won’t be the ones you immediately associate with it, perhaps due to an artwork’s real-life texture, structure, or associations you have with its subject matter. The colours selected here are identical to those that feature in our photographs of the artworks, as found in our online collection, so they might appear slightly different on screen.
Hopefully the spots of colour will instantly trigger a brilliant vision in your mind, but in case it proves too tricky, here are a few clues to help you figure out the bigger picture.
(Have a pen and paper handy and note your guesses as you go, answers at the bottom!)
For those fearful of sinking to a muddy death, fully clothed in a stream surrounded by roses, nettles and daisies, look away now.
The bombing of a Basque town during the Spanish Civil War prompted this colourful portrait, painted in a cubist manner.
One deck chair, two palms trees and a whole lotta splash fill this snapshot of The Golden State where everybody has a swimming pool.
Suffer from an undisclosed curse? Live in an isolated tower on an island? Does your boat always go downstream? You can relate to this lady.
Who knew a humble gastropod and common agricultural pest would be the star subject of this famous ‘Chromatic Composition’.
Excuse me kind sir, there’s a large marine crustacean on my receiver. It’s fabulous. I’ll take two, chilled please.
Inspired by the sight of Chinese lanterns amongst lilies, this work was painted over just a few minutes each evening to capture the mauvish light of dusk.
This painter aimed to convey a sense of the tranquility of the Thames lit by moonlight. We think they did a pretty good job.
This artist dropped figuration (and an ‘a’ from their name) to create one of the most idiosyncratic palettes in modern art. 5 stars for the correct artwork!
The Eumenides, (the vengeful furies of Greek mythology), ectoplasm and the work of Picasso are said to have inspired these three beastly figures.
What do the the effects of an elemental vortex look like? The view’s pretty dark and stormy from this boat.
Black lines and blocks of blue dominate this restaurant scene with a rather nice view of the Château de Chillon, Switzerland.
A fascination with light and its changing effects on the environment inspired this masterpiece. Japanese-style water-garden anyone?
How do you explore fragility in the face of death? With giant vitrines, cross-sectioned cattle and a lot of fixative solution of course.
Painted directly from the rural scenery of this artist’s Suffolk-based ‘careless boyhood’, two boys negotiate a horse-drawn barge.
An entire city is thrown into an apocalyptic abyss of lightning, hellfire and crumbling waves of rock. Be afraid.
How do you like your eggs? Fried and sunny side up please, served with a steely glare, cigarettes and a dollop of defiant femininity.
A historic building and landscape merge in the blazing light of this picturesque sunrise scene along the river Tweed.
Thanks for taking our quiz! Whether you get it right or wrong, we hope you agree that reducing a work to its dominant colours can be an interesting way to reflect on it. Visit our answers page to find out how good an eye you have for artists’ colours.
Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs is on display at Tate Modern until 7 September #Matisse