Time for round 3? Ok!
In the book, Delsarte studies colors from stained glass windows, colors from India & Biblical tradition, and even Aztec painting, and splits the 3 primary colors into head/heart/body.
Heart is a cinch. Red. I never would have considered blue powerful or yellow enlightening, but it is surprising to see how it all fits. Some iconic pics:
Yellow was especially surprising to me, since it doesn’t strike me as a smart color. But light bulbs pop up over a character’s head when they get an idea and kings wear yellow crowns, so it makes sense.
The secondary colors are a mix of these. Purple is considered an immature color–is it because there’s no head color in it? Brown is considered down-to-earth, which is just a dark version of orange. I don’t know as much as I wish I knew about color, but our perceptions of it seem to match Delsarte’s. (Color though is so wibbly-wobbly…desaturated blue can mean something completely different than a zingy blue.)
WHITE and BLACK are iconic of course. White is pure and inspirational, whereas black symbolizes darkness and evil. Thank you Mr. Phantom :)
Ok! Practical application time! Keeping Delsarte poses & gestures & colors in mind, take a look at these Disney princesses below and see if you can peg which one is:
1) The most romantic
2) The most powerful
3) The most willful
4) The hardest to relate to
You have 5 seconds.
Got your guesses? Ok!
Most romantic goes to:
Pocahontas. She is in complete body stance–splayed gesture, her hair flows past her heart zone to the body zone, and her hem ends in the body zone too. (She also has a shoulderband you can’t see in the body zone that adds more contrast.) I think the yellow dress and necklace offsets this a little, but she is definitely a vital.
At the other end of the scale, this picture of Lady Gaga. She’s masked her face, form, and head, and so the audience is distanced emotionally from her.
Like a mask, the character’s clothes & shape can alienate the audience from the character. With the Delsarte theory it makes sense why big poofy dresses are considered so romantic–because they distance the person from the body/power zone and focus on the form in the heart zone.