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Black

Black absorbs all the light cast on it and does not reflect any of it back. Thus, it has been claimed that black is not a color. When viewed under colored illumination, black always remains the same, unlike other colors.

In color theory and painting, the question of whether black is a color or not has been widely discussed. It often happened that black was not considered a separate color; it was a substance to shade other colors with. Black was used as the color of shadows e.g. in the chiaroscuro technique of the renaissance. Generally, all colors contain black and white, light and shadow to some extent.

Later in modern art, black has gained significance as a color. For instance, to Kasimir Malevich, the painter of the famous "Black Square", black was a part of the color spectrum. Henri Matisse noticed that like other colors, black could have many hues: it could be bright or mat, light or shadowy.

In oriental calligraphy, it was common that only black color was used. To calligraphers, black as a concept comprised all other colors. Particular skill was required to create impressions of light with mere black. Colors were often regarded as a means of vulgar painters. Black was said to have a more delicate meaning: it was a something to describe the mental landscape with, not solely the things perceptible to the eye.

In western countries, black is associated with a number of negative qualities. Black is a color for grief, gloom and hopelessness. As a liturgical color, black also refers to penitence, perishableness and death. In Lutheran churches, black textiles are used only on Good Friday and the following Saturday (Holy Saturday).