Through the Kaleidoscope of Colours 

Art History

Course Description

Scientists and artists have been fascinated by colour and its properties for centuries. Is colour an objective property of things, or of the light that bounces off them? We know that  without light there is no colour. 

This course will explore the following beguiling questions about colour: What is synesthesia? That is, why do some people see colours when they hear music, as the artist Wassily Kandinsky did? How does a painting that consists of swaths of  colour on a large canvas bring us to reflect on the sacred as Mark Rothko's paintings do? How have colours inspired poets, writers, painters, and filmmakers? Would a Wes Anderson film look the same without its daring use of colour? Why is the colorization of black and white classic movies controversial? Why do some cultures only have a handful of names for colours, and does this affect their perception of colours? What impact might this have on their experience of poetry that references colours? We will probe these and other ideas by looking at paintings, poems, short stories and through our core book, Cambridge art historian James Fox's The World According to Color: A Cultural History, which majestically covers this subject from multiple angles.

Books to Purchase (will be available at Argo Bookshop during the weeks prior to the course beginning):

    • James Fox, The World According to Color: A Cultural History, (ISBN: 9781250278517)


Please call 514-935-9585 or e-mail if you are interested in being added to the waitlist for this course. You will be contacted if space opens up.

Course Details

Location: Atwater

First Session: Mondays, September 18th, 2023

Course Length: 12 weeks, Mondays, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Discussion Team: Barbara Smith, Jane Thomson and another

Degree Credit: 3.0 credits

Course Fee: 

$150.00 (standard tuition)
$100.00 (promotion for new students)

Administrative Fee:



$185.00 (standard tuition)
$135.00 (promotion for new students)

Course fees are refundable in full before the second session. After the second session, a fee of $50 for the withdrawal will be applied. Refunds will not be issued after the third session. Please note that non-attendance does not constitute a withdrawal.

Students pursuing studies for credit are encouraged to consult with their advisers as they register for courses.

Course leaders, and students wishing to use credit vouchers, should call (514) 935-9585 to pay by phone or to schedule an appointment to pay in person.

Questions? Stuck? Give us a call at (514) 935-9585
or email us at