Colour as Painting Language in N.N. Volkov's Art Psychology



Works by N.N. Volkov represent the experience of researching problems in art psychology within the framework of methodological principles developed in the State Academy of Arts (GAKhN) under the guidance of G.G. Shpet. N.N. Volkov's art psychology focuses on the problem of making and perceiving pieces of art as a problem of making and understanding painting language, understanding the sense of a piece of art. According to Volkov, painting is not just an imitation of reality, but a translation of the latter into the language of art, which is always an interpretation. This means that painting has to develop its own system of mediation, i.e. to develop its own language that changes from epoch to epoch. An artist's changing way of seeing and picturing the world can as well change a viewer's way of seeing, perceiving and understanding pictures. Thus art and culture as a whole become the factors that determine the development of one's artistic perception. A distinctive feature of artistic perception of colour as a result of cultural-historical development, of one's artistic practice is the enriched perception of colour, that is, when colour, apart from its own primary characteristics, acquires some new ones that are revealed only in the unity of colour and picture. Being a word in the language of art, colour in N.N. Volkov's theory is 'multiexpressive', a synthetic artistic instrument.

General Information

Keywords: artist's individual vocabulary, cultural-historical determination, enriched colour perception, mediation system, sense of piece of at, colour characteristics, artistic perception, language of art

Journal rubric: Memorable Dates

Article type: scientific article

For citation: Poleva N.S. Colour as Painting Language in N.N. Volkov's Art Psychology . Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2007. Vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 93–100. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


  1. Volkov N.N. Mysli ob iskusstve. M., 1973.
  2. Volkov N.N. Kompoziciya v zhivopisi. M., 1977.
  3. Volkov N.N. Cvet v zhivopisi. M, 1984.
  4. Shpet G.G. Sochineniya. M., 1989.

Information About the Authors

Natalia S. Poleva, PhD in Psychology, Senior researcher at the Historical Psychology of Personality Laboratory at the Psychological Institute of the Russian Academy of Education, Moscow, Russia, e-mail:



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