Liberal Arts Blog — Three Color Triads — Notes for a Sonnet
Liberal Arts Blog — Friday is the Joy of Art, Architecture, Design, Film, and All Things Visual Day
Today’s Topic: Three Color Triads — Notes for a Sonnet
Gerald Manley Hopkins wrote a beautiful sonnet titled “Pied Beauty” in which he thanks God for the magic of “dappled things” such as “skies of couple-color like a brinded cow.” The juxtaposition of two colors can be an inspiration — whether on a finch’s wing or a freckled face. Inspired by Hopkins, I would like to write a sonnet about perfect color triads. Today, a few notes on three favorites. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
THE RED, WHITE, AND BLUE OF DAWN, DUSK, AND THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
1. The drama of sunrise and sunset contrasts sharply with the two-tone quality of night and polychrome day.
2. No wonder so many nations across so many centuries have chosen these three for their flags.
3. The Netherlands was the first with horizontal stripes and red on top, then white, then blue. France has vertical stripes in a sequence of blue (closest to the pole), white, and red. And then of course there are the stars and stripes of the US and the Union Jack of the UK.
NB: The Pan Slavic has horizontal stripes with blue on top, then white, then red. The Russian flag also has horizontal stripes but with white on top, then blue, then red.
THE RED, WHITE, AND GREEN OF ITALY, MEXICO, AND CHRISTMAS
1. Think snow and holly: the green leaves, the red berries, the white snow.
2. Think pizza margherita or tricolore: the tomato sauce, the basil leaf, the mozzarella cheese. The most patriotic pizza ever (for Italians). Can also just be a salad — basil, tomato, mozzarella.
3. Think “chiles enogada” — the most patriotic of Mexican Christmas culinary delights — green chiles, white sauce, pomegranate seeds.
THE BLUE, WHITE, GREEN OF THE SKY, CLOUDS, AND TREES
1. Only Sierra Leone has chosen this magic trinity for its flag.
2. But this, to me, is the triad of serenity and peace. The palette of the earth from space.
3. The palette of my daily walk as I look up to see a patch of blue and white framed by the summer leaves of oak and maple.
NB: Blue, white, and green are the colors of the Seine in Paris — the reflected sky, clouds, poplars, and facades of buildings that line its banks — an undulating canvas that surely inspired the likes of Monet. And the colors of almost every river everywhere — including the Concord river which I cross over twice on my daily walk.
What is your favorite color triad?
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