The Psychology of “the queen of all colours”

This is how Pierre-Auguste Renoir expressed himself regarding black colour. (Eva Heller, Psychologie de la couleur – effets et symboliques, p. 107.)

We already mentioned that technically speaking black is not truly even a colour, and yet it is so dominant and exceptionally complex that this post will be all about it.

In the psychology of colours black is truly unique, because we associate it to so many different feelings. And interestingly, black goes with everything and it gives depth to all the other colours.

First of all, even though it is one of the first colours used in art, it is also the colour of modern world and fashion. Ah, Coco Chanel, so classy! This is black: elegant, perfect and always trendy. Elegant, yes, but at the same time also simple.

It is the least childish of colours, it has an enigmatic connotation of mystery. I like how a psychologist, Brunella Gasperini described it: ‘It’s the unspoken part of us. But it’s also a colour that protects, in which we can hide, as in the darkness of the night.’ (La Repubblica, 12/19/2018).  It hides, ehm, … yes, even weight, but also emotions, did you notice how those wearing it look so strong and superior? It suggests power, sophistication and formality.

Black is linked to fear, it’s the colour of the shadow, it refers to the inner and dark aspects, unexplored and potentially dangerous. It’s the colour of the unknown and things hidden, just think about black holes or also outer space.

In some cultures black is also the colour of mourning and sadness. And interestingly, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary the word “atrocious” comes from the Latin word ‘ater’ meaning ‘black’ + the Greek word ‘ox’, meaning ‘eye’.

Black ink was invented in China and black is still the most used colour for writing, generally also on computer, because it is the easiest to read, since it provides clarity by means of the highest contrast with white paper or screen.

Personally, I love colours and black, too and I love what Camille Pissarro told Henry Matisse when commenting on Manet: “HE MADE LIGHT WITH BLACK”!!! (Jack Flam, Matisse on Art, p. 175.)

If you are interested, you could have a look in my website where I have paintings related to a black hole and outer space.

An other post about the Psychology of colour is coming soon! Thanks a lot!



By Lucia Waterson

I write poems (exclusively in Italian). What I love in working with colours is that it's a direct language with no barriers. And I like how it brings me into my dreamworld. I'm fond in particular of nature, because in its beauty there is love and hope. I started a new series of artworks Weird but True, because many times nature can be quite bizarre! And the first one, Nature's palette, is already uploaded, you can see it in my website I also started a new series of artworks, in which I select news from all over the world and I recount them to you through my eyes and my (he)art. We can take this ongoing journey together if you keep visiting. The first artwork is already uploaded, it's called Touching the sky. Thank you very much! Lucia Waterson


  1. Black is absolutely an integral part of art – and of light, or the absence thereof. I know it is an integral part of my art photography. I look forward to your continued narrative of the psychology of color (colour).

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.