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Color Symbolism Quiz

This quiz tests your knowledge of color symbolism and how it is used as a cultural, social, or psychological element in art and design. In each correct answer there is a link to more information about the symbolic use of that specific color.

Question 1: What is the color red used to symbolize?

PAUL GAUGUIN (1848-1903) 'Vision After The Sermon', 1888 (oil on canvas)

Joy

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Red through its association with fire and blood is used to represent danger, anger and violence. For the same reason it is also associated with affairs of the heart: love and passion.

Question 2: What is the color orange used to symbolize?

MARK ROTHKO (1903-1970) 'Orange and Yellow', 1956 (oil on canvas)

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Orange symbolizes creativity, change, energy and endurance.

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Question 3: What is the color yellow used to symbolize?

VINCENT VAN GOGH (1853-1890) 'Sunflowers', 1888 (oil on canvas)

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Yellow is the color of the sun - the life support for our planet. As such it has come to represent life, energy, happiness, hope and wisdom.

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Question 4: What is the color green used to symbolize?

PAUL CÉZANNE (1839-1906) 'The Bridge at Maincy', 1879 (oil on canvas)

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Green, as the color of plants and grass, is the color of nature and all that is associated with health and growth. However, it is also used to represent more negative traits such as envy and inexperience.

Question 5: What is the color blue used to symbolize?

JAMES MCNEIL WHISTLER (1834-1903) 'Nocturne, Blue and Silver: Chelsea', 1871 (oil on wood)

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Blue is the coolest and most calming of all the colors. As the color of the sky, it has been used since ancient times to represent heaven.

Joy

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Question 6: What is the color purple used to symbolize?

FYODOR ROKOTOV(1736-1808) Catherine the Great (1780) Catherine the Great (1780)

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Purple is the color of royalty, wealth and power. In times past, purple dyes were rare and expensive. Only the rich and powerful could afford to wear clothes of this luxurious color.

Question 7: What is the color brown used to symbolize?

VINCENT VAN GOGH (1853-1890) 'Shoes', 1888 (oil on canvas)

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Brown is the color of earth, wood and stone. As such, it evokes craftsmanship and the great outdoors. It is also used to represent humility: a down to earth virtue.

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Question 8: What is the color black used to symbolize?

KÄTHE KOLLWITZ (1867-1945) 'The Widow', 1922-23 (woodcut)

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Black and its association with darkness is used to represent death, evil, witchcraft, fear and mourning.

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Question 9: What is the color grey used to symbolize?

PABLO PICASSO (1881-1973) 'Goat Skull, Bottle and Candle', 1952 (oil on canvas)

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Grey is the natural color of some metals and stone, but it also has some negative associations with the weather, boredom, decay and old age. Grey is a mixture of black (death) and white (peace) and is the color of ashes and dust. As such it is also associated with death and mourning.

Question 10: What is the color white used to symbolize?

KAZIMIR MALEVICH (1887-1935) 'Suprematist Composition: White on White ', 1918 (oil on canvas)

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White and its association with light is used to represent peace, purity and goodness.

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