🌈 PRIDE Colour Facts: ORANGE

pride colour facts

July is Pride Month and as strong allies, the CBUAG is launching a brand new column here on our blog where, for the next 6 weeks, we will be bringing you fun facts about each colour in the pride rainbow! These facts can be anything from their symbolism to their origin in paint production. Stay tuned to learn all about the colours: RED, ORANGE, YELLOW, GREEN, BLUE, PURPLE. This week we are going to look at ORANGE and its place in history.

Here are 7 interesting facts about the first colour of the Pride Rainbow, ORANGE.

1. The Name

The color we know as orange was referred to in Old English as “geoluhread,” which means yellow-red. It is easy to think that the popular fruit, ORANGE, would have gotten its name because of its vibrant colour. However, this is the one instance (in the traditional rainbow spectrum) where the colour actually gained its name from the object. The color we know as orange was referred to in Old English as “geoluhread,” which means yellow-red. The word “ORANGE” was adopted after the eponymous fruit was introduced to English via the Spanish word naranja. That’s right, the fruit came before the colour!

2. Hinduism

ORANGE in Hinduism represents fire and purity. This is the color of holy men and ascetics who have renounced the world. Wearing the color symbolizes the quest for light and is a metaphor for the inner transformation that is experienced by swamis donning orange robes.

Hindu Brahmin in orange robes, smoking a cigarette.

Hindu Brahmin in orange robes, smoking a cigarette.

3. Impressionism

The pure ORANGE pigments realgar and chrome ORANGE were favored by the Impressionists.

In this Impressionist painting, the sun is set against the dawn, a vibrant orange color rising against the gray setting of its motionless surroundings. The movement’s name was engendered by this Monet paining, “Impression: Sunrise” (1873, Musee Marmottan, Paris), when critics called Monet and his comrades “Impressionists.”


4. Politics

ORANGE is both the name and emblematic color of the royal family in the Netherlands. The House of Orange-Nassau has played a central role in the politics and government of the Netherlands — and at times in Europe — especially since William I of Orange organized the Dutch revolt against Spanish rule, which after the Eighty Years’ War led to an independent Dutch state.

William the Silent, Prince of Orange and leader of the Dutch War for Independence.

William the Silent, Prince of Orange and leader of the Dutch War for Independence.

5. Vincent van Gogh

As said last week, the 19th century saw the birth of the systematic study of color theory. These studies were avidly followed by artists such as Vincent van Gogh. Van Gogh said, “There is no blue without yellow and without ORANGE.” He was aware that juxtaposing complementary colors made each color seem brighter, so he used yellows and oranges with blues and reds with greens to create a fuller, more dramatic, image.

Van Gogh self-portrait (1889)

Van Gogh self-portrait (1889)

6. Humanity

“Warm red, intensified by a subtle yellow, is orange. This blend brings red almost to the point of spreading out towards the spectator. But the element of red is always sufficiently strong to keep the colour from flippancy. Orange is like a man, convinced of his own powers. Its note is that of the angelus, or of an old violin… [O]range is red brought nearer to humanity by yellow.” Wassily Kandinsky in “Delphi Collected Works of Wassily Kandinsky (Illustrated)”.

Self Portrait Painting - Reaching Out by Snehal Page

Self Portrait Painting – Reaching Out by Snehal Page

7. 1970s Fashion

In the early 70’s with America now in the throws of war and massive drafting, there came about a strong visual backlash against the “psychedelic” colour palette of the late 60’s hippie culture. This was no longer a happy-go-lucky time and so people began to crave muted visual colour pallets and the autumn tones lent themselves to this purpose. This is why ORANGE and brown was such a common colour combination in the 70’s, almost to the point of it being iconic of the time.

Stay tuned next week for some interesting facts about the colour YELLOW!


5 thoughts on “🌈 PRIDE Colour Facts: ORANGE

  1. Pingback: 🌈 PRIDE Colour Facts: RED | CBU Art Gallery Blog

  2. Pingback: 🌈 PRIDE Colour Facts: YELLOW | CBU Art Gallery Blog

  3. Pingback: 🌈 PRIDE Colour Facts: GREEN | CBU Art Gallery Blog

  4. Pingback: 🌈 PRIDE Colour Facts: BLUE | CBU Art Gallery Blog

  5. Pingback: 🌈 PRIDE Colour Facts: Purple | CBU Art Gallery Blog

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