Intentionality of Colours in Konrad Mägi ’s Paintings


  • Anne Kokkov



The Intentional Picture, Phenomenal Colours, Gestalt, Equivalency of Structure, Equivalency of Colours and Light, Intentionality of Colours


The goal of this article is to discuss the intentionality of colours in the
picture. To illustrate the behaviour of colours in the picture I discuss
some of Konrad Mägi’s paintings from the 1920s. For explicating some
aspects of seeing the intentional picture I make references to Gestalt
theory and colour theory. This treatment is based on Roman Ingarden’s ontological essay “The Picture” in which he ingeniously differentiates two phenomena: ‘painting’ and ‘the intentional picture’. At the same time, when discussing the role of colours for the picture R. Ingarden does not distinguish between the concepts of ‘colour’ as ‘dye’ and ‘colour’ as ‘hue’. R. Ingarden explicates the specific role of colours in painting arguing that colours only have a constructional role for the intentional work of art, but the colours themselves are not part of the work of art. However, a transition of the material dyes into phenomenal colours – hues – occurs in the patches of colour when light falls on them. Since he does not differentiate between the concepts of ‘dye’ and ‘hue,’ R. Ingarden neglects the possibility of discussing the phenomenal colours in the intentional picture. The presented objectivity “visible” in the intentional picture is colourful. The pictorial objects have several qualities, the qualities of colours among others. Unlike R. Ingarden, I am confident that different colour phenomena occur in the relations of colours that cannot be reduced to the material level of painting. The colouration of the intentionally  “visible” pictorial objects appears phenomenally as the total of the relations of phenomenal colours. Since R. Ingarden does not treat colours as phenomenal, he also neglects the option of discussing the intentionality of he pictorial colours. My assertion is that, in the process of perceiving the work of art of painting, in picture-consciousness, the colouration of the pictorial objectivity  is intentionally given. The interrelations of phenomenal hues constitute the intentionally visible objectual “light” and colouring of the pictorial objectivity; the relations of colours acquire new qualities that the patches of colour do not contain. Therefore, in the intentional picture, colours should be treated as intentional.


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Author Biography

Anne Kokkov

Anne Kokkov is an artist and art philosopher. She is currently working on a PhD thesis in the philosophy of art. She has participated in several art exhibitions and had several solo exhibitions. In painting, she is interested mostly in colours and their internal  relations in achieveing pictorial wholes. She has organised international land art symposiums
and participated in several land art projects. She has received grants from the Cultural Endowment of Estonia on several occasions. Her PhD thesis is focused on the role of colours in paintings as works
of art.