A Brief History Lesson In Blue
In traditional art history, the colour blue often symbolises calmness, wisdom and serenity, stability and reliability, and sometime power.
16th Century Rococo painter Caravaggio would create portraits of beautiful young boys either naked or dressed in blue and it was considered unusual for a painter to focus on this subject and to use this colour. Italian society speculated that Caravaggio's penchant for naked boys was something more sinister, which might explain why his life ended so abruptly.
During the 18th Century the colour was considered not to be warm enough to be used in the masses of traditional paintings, except to offset warmer light.
At the beginning of the 20th Century, Pablo Picasso produced a set of prints as reflections of his own melancholic nature during a difficult period of his life, predominantly using monochromatic colours and the colour blue. These prints would go on to define Picasso as a modern impressionist and his "blue period" are some of the most priceless artworks in today's art market.
In 1980's America, Honcho Magazine would produce provocative erotic and hyper-sexualised blue ink paintings of muscular men in their publication to accompany homosexual erotic short stories.
Call Me By Your Name Blue Devil (2021)
Call Me By Your Name Blue Devil is a work by photographer Markham Lane that celebrates the blue eroticism of the subject, while also conveying a deep sadness and melancholy towards a society that valued the commoditisation of sexual activity and it's lust for status symbols, as represented by the red harness and red crystal encrusted mask.
While the background represents the sunset of extravagance, greed and lust as a predominant factor in society - as the world was grappling with the enforced constraints of lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic - the central blue devil character continues to contemplate the power in his own sexuality while immersed in the societal elements all around him.
Call Me By Your Name Red Devil (2021)
Here we find the centralised character of the red devil no longer in blue and instead passionately aware yet also aloof to the dark and stormy background, having come to accept his own power, sexual nature, lust, and greed.