USE OF COLOUR IN THE PAST Historically, the monotone has been widespread since the days of the Italian Renaissance (see RENAISSANCE ARCHITECTURE). In Italy such fragments of Greek and Roman architecture as were then found apparently induced the artists of the period to assume that little colour had been employed by the ancients. Although the normal instinct of the Italians, as was later evidenced, tended towards the employment of interesting variations of colour, the classic palace of the i4th and 15th centuries developed into a stone structure, serious in composition and of a distinctly severe mono tone in colour. In earlier centuries the cathedrals of Venice, Palermo, Siena and Florence used a play of marble and mosaic inlays that gave great distinction to their facades. In Venice, in particular, the strong Byzantine influence retained colour and dec.
orations such as marked the Doges' palace and many of the stately houses along the canals. Throughout Italy, coincident with the se vere perfection of such admirable buildings as the Farnese palace in Rome, came the delightful work of P. Lombardi in the Santa Maria dei Miracoli in Venice, the sgraffito decoration of Peruzzi in Rome, the terra-cottas of the della Robbias in Florence. In all these buildings the artists, fortunately emancipated from the dis tinction of architect and painter, gave expression to their talents in the production of structures agreeable in colour as well as form.
In spite of these agreeable variations the masters of the Ren aissance, who were ultimately to inspire architects throughout Europe and America, swept on to a clear type of design. This tradition leads directly to the present and has consistently main tained so strong a check on the designer that the mere considera tion of colour on an exterior is often met with shock and sus picion. So powerful has this influence been that in every capital of Europe and the Americas greyish-white stone structures deco rated with carvings of the same materials are commonplace. Occa sionally red, and more recently buff, brick buildings are seen, but it is fair to assume that the theory of the greyish mass is dominant. Before analysing the records antedating the Renaissance it may be interesting to note that in most of the countries in whose capitals traditional work was built the popular expressions were vastly different. In Spain, particularly in the south, the Moorish reac tions produced houses brilliantly painted in primary colours, quite similar to the vigorous handling of the Dutch peasants' dwellings. Climatic conditions may, in part, be responsible for the striking appearance of the Dutch towns, but it is apparent that where no restraint existed, experiment has been permitted and a most de lightful result obtained. Sweden and Norway made similar essays, which were also somewhat analogous to the brilliant tones of the Russian peasant buildings. Throughout Bohemia, Poland, Hungary and Austria, are similar evidences of painted wood and plaster, all, to be sure, in the smaller buildings in contrast to the chaste grey of the aristocratic town structures. It is quite clear that in European countries where the influence of Byzantium and the East was strong, colour has ever been dear to the populace and has been expressed quite as freely on the facades as in the interiors of their buildings.