The Color Purple: Royalty, Fantasy, & Enlightenment

Updated: Sep 23

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The color purple has always been associated with royalty and power. In ancient times, purple was reserved for the exclusive use of royals because it was so expensive and difficult to produce. The history of this color is fascinating, and its impact on our psychology is undeniable. In this blog post, we will explore the history, psychology, and uses of the color purple. We will also take a look at how this regal color has inspired artists and designers over the years. So sit back, relax, and let's explore the world of purple!



The History of the Color Purple

The history of purple is shrouded in mystery. The color was first mentioned in ancient texts from Lydia, a region in what is now Turkey. These texts date back to the year 2700 BC, making purple one of the oldest colors known to man. It is believed that the first purple dyes were made from a type of sea snail called the murex. This process was extremely labor-intensive and time-consuming, which is why purple was so expensive and coveted by the elite.


The color purple has always been associated with royalty, power, and wealth. In ancient Rome, only the emperor could wear garments made of purple silk. In medieval Europe, only nobles were allowed to wear clothes dyed with Tyrian purple. This hue was also used to adorn the robes of religious figures such as bishops and cardinals.



Color Influence & Theories

The color psychology of purple is complex and fascinating. Purple is often seen as a symbol of luxury, mystery, magic, and spirituality. It is also associated with wisdom, creativity, imagination, and dignity. For many people, purple has a calming and relaxing effect.


Magic

One theory is that the color purple is associated with magic because it is the color of amethysts. Amethysts are a type of quartz that has been used in jewelry and other decorative objects for centuries. They are also said to have magical properties, which may be why the color purple has always been associated with sorcery and witchcraft.


A bracelet made from shards of amethyst and gold held together by a golden brown braided rope.
A Witch's Band


Psychology

Different shades of purple may affect us psychologically in many ways. For example, lavender is often used to promote relaxation and calmness. It is also said to boost self-esteem and confidence. Darker shades of purple, on the other hand, can be associated with sadness, anger, and frustration.


Examples of widely used shades of purple are:

- Royal purple: A deep and rich hue, often associated with royalty, luxury, and power. It may exhibit emotions of grandeur, ambition, and high aspirations.

An example of royal purple is HEX number #7851A9


An abstract digital painting that has a purple and pearl castle featured in the middle.
The Pearl Kingdom

- Lavender: A light purple color with a calming and relaxing effect. It may exhibit emotions of serenity, happiness, and femininity. Read about other calming colors here!

An example of lavender is HEX number #E6E6FA


A digital portrait of a woman with olive skin and long flowing lavender hair.
Breath of Fresh Air

- Mauve: A medium purple color with a sense of mystery and intrigue. It may exhibit emotions of complex thought, deep reflection, and boldness. Read about another bold color, red.

An example of mauve is HEX number #E0B0FF


A landscape picture of a ghostly figure watching a city engulfed in a purple fog from afar
A Mauve Dream

- Violet: A bright and vibrant color associated with creativity, imagination, and wisdom. It may exhibit emotions of excitement, adventure, and fun.

An example of violet is HEX number #8F00FF


A landscape picture of a multicolored sky with purple being the dominant color. A large golden ring is featured in the center of the sky.
Ethereal

Spirituality & Enlightenment

When it comes to spirituality, one theory is that the color purple is associated with the crown chakra. Chakra is a Sanskrit word that means "wheel" or "circle." It is also the name for the seven energy centers in the human body. The seventh chakra, or crown chakra, is located at the top of the head. This chakra is said to be responsible for our connection to the divine and cosmos.


Some believe that the color violet, which is a shade of purple, is the highest color on the visible spectrum. This means that it has the shortest wavelength and the highest frequency. Because of this, some people believe that violet light has special properties that can promote enlightenment and spiritual growth.



Interior Design + Home Decor

Purple is often used in interior design to create a feeling of luxury and opulence. It is a popular color for living rooms, bedrooms, and home offices. Purple can also be used to add a touch of drama to a room. When used in moderation, purple can make a space feel more sophisticated and elegant.


If you want to add a touch of luxury to your living room, consider using purple as an accent color. You can use purple pillows, throws, or even rugs to add a pop of color. If you want to go for a more dramatic look, you can paint an accent wall in purple or use purple wallpaper. For a more subtle look, you can use purple-tinted window treatments or upholster your furniture in a violet hue.


If you want to create a romantic and soothing ambiance in your bedroom, consider using purple as the dominant color. You can paint the walls a soft lavender hue or use violet-tinted window treatments. For a luxurious look, use purple fabrics for your bedding and curtains. You can also add small touches of purple with accent pillows or lamps.


If you want to add a touch of creativity and imagination to your office, consider using purple as an accent color. You can use purple wall art, lamps, or even rugs to add a pop of color. For a more subtle look, you can use purple-tinted window treatments or upholster your furniture in a violet hue.



The World of Fashion & Art

In the world of fashion, purple is often associated with royalty and power. This regal color has been worn by some of the most famous and influential people in history, including Cleopatra, Elizabeth I, and Marie Antoinette. Today, purple is still seen as a sign of wealth and status. It is often used in couture fashion and eveningwear.


A picture of a futuristic lavender outfit accented in gold .
Future High Class


The most popular shade of purple in modern fashion is lavender. This light and airy hue are perfect for spring and summertime fashions. It can be used to create a romantic and ethereal look or a more casual and carefree look. In the fall, the best shade of purple to wear is eggplant. This rich and deep hue is perfect for creating a luxurious and dramatic look.


A picture of a woman modeling a soft lavender colored sun dress accented with pink flowers.
Spring Fling Fashion

The color purple has been inspiring artists and designers for centuries. In the world of art, purple is often associated with majesty, mystery, and spirituality. Purple has been used in paintings by some of the most famous artists in history, including Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Rembrandt. In the world of design, purple is often used to add a touch of luxury and sophistication.


In some of Vincent van Gogh's more famous paintings, like "The Starry Night" and "Irises," he also used purple to represent mystery and spirituality. Vincent van Gogh's painting, "The Starry Night", is a representation of the night sky above the small town of Saint-Remy in France. In this painting, Van Gogh used a variety of colors, but purple is one of the most prominent. He used it to represent the stars and the night sky. In his painting "Irises," he used purple to represent the flowers that were in bloom at the time.


Rembrandt also used purple in his art but in a different way. " Minerva in Her Study," represents the Goddess of Wisdom and War, Minerva. This painting shows Minerva surrounded by different symbols of her power. She wears a lavish dress made of subtle purple satin which is also embroidered. This may symbolize royalty and power but also knowledge.


Oil painting of Minerva in Her Study by Rembrandt van Rijn
"Minerva in Her Study" by Rembrandt (Manuth, “Minerva in Her Study” 2017)

Whether you're drawn to its history or its psychology, there's no denying that the color purple is fascinating. This regal and very mysterious hue has inspired generations of artists and designers and will continue to do so for many years to come. Thanks for taking the time to explore the world of purple with me! I hope you enjoyed it!


Do you have any questions or comments about the color purple? Feel free to share them in the comments section below! See more blog posts about color psychology here.


Works Cited

Manuth, Volker. “Minerva in Her Study” (2017). In The Leiden Collection Catalogue, 3rd ed. Edited by Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. and Lara Yeager-Crasselt. New York, 2020–. https://theleidencollection.com/artwork/minerva-in-her-study/ (accessed September 03, 2022).



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