Chroma, the third attribute of color, decides the position of the object and the setting in the drawing surface. This position is decided by the subjective element of the composition, shown in the person part. This is the viewpoint position which the painter,
as observer, takes in relation to the object of the picture. Therefore,
chroma is an essential attribute of the subjective element of the composition.
In "perspective plan", chroma decides the physical position of the objective element of the composition, and in "the projection plan" it decides the psychological position. Therefore, even from the perspective
of chroma function, it can be ascertained that "projection plan"
is appropriate for an expressionist method.
far as the physical position is concerned, chroma becomes lower as the distance
from the viewpoint increases. As for the psychological position, chroma is
raised in areas that gather attention.
In "perspective plan", the natural "aerial perspective" becomes the central technique when the setting with a low chroma is placed in a distant view. In "aerial perspective", in addition to chroma reduction, the so-called "Sfumato" and "Frottie", that
obscure the line of the object, are often used together.
As shown in the person part, contrary to the objective element of the composition, "figure" and "ground" makes the distinction between the area that gathers the viewer's consciousness
and the subordinate area that surrounds it. "Figure" concentrates
the attention of the viewers while "ground" makes the "figure"
The theme of the picture is always drawn as a "figure". Also, often times the object is drawn as "figure" and the setting as "ground". This means that, since "figure" and "ground" are also psychological positions, chroma in "projection plan" necessarily comes to play an important role. "Figure" must always have a higher chroma in relation to "ground".
In photography, chroma is mechanically determined. However, picture is not a photograph. No matter how thoroughly literal a picture is, it has to be a reproduction by a painter of the real world.
Therefore, it might happen sometimes that the painter is concentrated on
a far distant object. In such a case, even in a literal picture, chroma
is determined by the painter's discretion, apart from physical position.
As well known, lens of camera has a depth of field, the area in which the
focus is the sharpest. In a representational painting, too, by introducing this photographic effect, it becomes possible to
set an object's chroma high, even if it is located in a physically far
point, by considering it as a "figure" that is accommodated in
the depth of field.
the previously mentioned "Neuespektive", Sato used this effect in his work for
the first time. When this work was finally created, it had passed about 60
years since Sato decided to be a painter.
The establishment of chroma in Sato's picture is classified clearly according
to composition and type of picture. Common to all the pictures is the emphasis
on "The Wall of Pamirs", for it is at the core of Sato's composition. Also, because his pictures
are basically drawn in monotone colors, aerial perspective is often introduced
when chroma is lowered.
The most conspicuous difference in the establishment of chroma can be seen
between a portrait and a landscape. In a portrait, the basic compositional
intention is that of "projection plan" and the distance effect
is shown not in the space but in the modeling of the person. Here, chroma
is established so that "The Wall of Pamirs" is emphasized.
As for a complete etude, in the case of pastel painting, white paper is left as it is to form the setting. (No Title16) Because it has no color, chroma is zero. In the case of tableau, the canvas is left as it is.(Etude) This color, too, is muddy with very low chroma. In the case of an incomplete etude, muddy color with low chroma is often painted roughly around the model like an aura, as if it was tracing "The Wall of Pamirs". (No Title 17)
Now, black is not used in setting even if it is a low-chroma color. (This
excludes accent part. Sato's accent does not constitute the setting but
a part of the outline of the object.) A black setting tends to bring in
the Christian concept of original sin, as argued in the section on value
setting, and it is against Sato's religious view. Therefore, the gray used
in setting has always a value higher than a certain level.
An uncommon example may be "The Youth". In this picture, there is no remarkable decline in chroma, but by obscuring the wall in the back, his own picture and the curtain next to it, aerial perspective is faintly introduced for an extremely close area. A similar technique is used for "Falling Ill 2", (which belongs to incomplete etude) too. And as mentioned earlier, the introduction of aerial perspective necessarily brings in the establishment of low chroma.
In "Red Towel", a technique resembling that of aerial perspective is used in Lautrec's (1864-1901 French
painter) poster in the upper part of "The Wall of Pamirs". While linear
perspective is used only restrictively (for it creates ray), aerial perspective, which can be called a natural method, is quite often
In a landscape, since the feature of "perspective plan" is strongly
reflected, a different method is used. Yet, pictures belonging to self-portrait
category are the exceptions even if they are landscapes. Let's see the
example of "Wind, Snow and Time". In this picture, aerial perspective is used for the shrubs around the
tree that is the central object. Then, the hill around the tree becomes
an invisible "Wall of Pamirs" because it intercepts the horizon.
Other tree pictures of Sato have similar composition, too.
Similar to it are the pictures of racehorse that belong to the self-portrait category. We shall see as an example "Race of Arab Horse". Here, the scenery that lies in the distance from the dashing horse is almost all blurred and aerial perspective is wholly introduced. By this, the sense of speed of the horses and "The Wall of Pamirs" are made clear. Other pictures of racehorse by Sato have similar composition.
situation is the same for the pictures of Don Quixote, which can be called a clear
self-portrait picture. For example, in "Brocken", everything except Don Quixote scenery, the sky and the rainbow in the
back, Don Quixote's shadow, Sancho's figure are all blurred. This is the
same in other pictures of Don Quixote.
But, in "Broken Spear", in which Sato's self-projection is not yet fully achieved, part of the
ground is processed as in usual landscape. However, as if to counterbalance
it, in this picture the sky occupies a big space and most of it is blurred.
This is so because this picture represents Sato's inner world. Therefore,
in integrated pictures that were concluded before this work such as "The Token on Wilderness inside of Myself", "Wind", "The Pillage by a Tank" and "The War Theory", which constitute inner expressions of Sato's self, the setting is processed
in the same way.
As for usual landscapes without the meaning of self-projection, features
of "perspective plan" are strongly expressed. This is so either
with land picture or sea picture. Also, in integrated pictures after "Broken Spear", such as "The Inheritance", "The Formation of the Wilderness", and "The Neo-Pyramid Times", the establishment of chroma is done in the same way as in a usual landscape.
As for usual landscapes, basically the whole chroma is established nearly
uniformly. Of course, distant parts are obscured, but only in modest parts
such as diminished trees ("The End of Winter") and distant electric light
Such a landscape, by allowing distant view to be looked over, has inherently
a composition with a strong feature of "perspective plan". Since
such a feature becomes stronger when aerial perspective is clearly used,
Sato avoided it in order to keep the balance. The intention is the same
of the aforementioned case of linear perspective, when the presence of rays is restricted by avoiding buildings. In other
words, in a landscape, the use of both linear perspective and aerial perspective
is restrained. (In portraits, in contrast, there are cases in which both
methods are used in an exaggerated way.)
Most importantly, we have the problem of "The Wall of Pamirs". In above described way, by a pan-focus establishment of chroma in which the focus is made clear until a distant view, this broad focused area functionally plays the role of "The Wall of Pamirs". In other words, it becomes as if a huge transparent sheet is set up.
The above discussion leads us to the conclusion that Sato's establishment
of chroma was based not on the content of the picture but on the intention
of composition setting. That is, the decision was based only in terms of
whether to draw the picture as a "projection plan" or a "perspective
plan". In either case, "The Wall of Pamirs" is unconsciously
emphasized, by using various methods.
As we have seen, value setting has objectivity and hue setting subjectivity.
Chroma possesses both of these elements. However, Sato almost completely
eliminated subjectivity in chroma setting. Then he concentrated his efforts
mainly in the spatial recognition, called composition making.
As previously argued, Sato's value setting was based on his world-view
concerning his position inside his own painting and on the compositional
consideration concerning the decision about the object's center of gravity
in a picture. Hue setting relied almost solely on the individual world-view.
In this way, Sato distinguished neatly between the way his world-view penetrates
into the painting and the way composition was considered according to the
physical attributes of color.
From another perspective, we can say that in this way, by relating his
world-view and his compositional intention to color, which is the essence
of medium, Sato was able to make use of it as a painting instrument.
Sato's work on color arrangement was very architectonic. However, an architectural
component in the usual meaning is something that appears in the field of
line setting, and it is difficult to have an intuitive understanding of
such a concept as architectonic arrangement of color. But as shown in the
section of composition, the line setting of Sato was extremely non-architectonic.
The architectural element in color and the non-architectural element in
line the very integration of such extraneous elements is at the core of
Sato's creativity. It can be said that the combination of such heterogeneous
talents is a miracle that happens only to specially chosen artists.
The system of mathematics as the framework of truth is said to be beautiful. Sato's way of handling the color, too, is beautiful in the same way. "Picture is the mathematics of feelings", said Sato. This dwells in the unseen deep part of his act of creation.
\ Written, summarized and translated by Taketoshi Murayama@\
\ Original translation is rewritten
by Chigusa Tanzawa \
This text must not be translated into any other languages without author's permission.
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