Among tulip fields, canals and sampling cheese,
the museums of the Netherlands are one of its biggest tourist attractions. And
for very good reasons! During the seventeenth century, known as the Dutch Golden
Age, there was an abundance of talented painters. If you ever have
the chance to visit the Rijksmuseum you will be in awe by the landscapes,
households and portraits, painted with incredible detail and beautiful colors.
dutchmasters color palette
Rembrandt van Rijn and Johannes Vermeer are the most famous of the seventeenth
century Dutch masters. Both are renowned for their use of light and color,
making encounters with their subjects feel as being in the room with them.
Recently, during the OzUnconference, the beautiful
ochRe package was
developed. This package contains color palettes of the wonderful Australian
landscape (which my wife got to witness during our honeymoon last
year). Drawing colors from both works of art and photographs of Australia.
I shamelessly stole both the idea and package structure of
ochRe to create
dutchmasters. This package contains six color
palettes derived from my six favourites by Van Rijn and Vermeer.
Vermeer’s paintings are renowned for their vivid and light colors. The package
offers palettes from Vermeer’s The Milkmaid,
Girl with a Pearl Earring,
View of Delft, and
The Little Street.
Rembrandt’s paintings on the other hand are more atmospheric, with a lot of dark
colors and subjects that stare you right into the soul. From him you find
palettes derived from the The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp
and The “Staalmeesters”.
ochRe, the package comprises a list with the color palettes. I have added
names to each of the color codes, reflecting the color it represents and moreover
where on the painting the color was taken from. As mentioned, I shamelessly
converted the functions from
dutchmasters functions. Why invent
something that smarter people already figured out?
Using the package
Grab the package from github with
Make sure to install
ochRe right away for the handy
This is what the palette “milkmaid” looks like.
Now to put those beautiful Vermeer shades into action on a ggplot.
library(ggplot2) ggplot(diamonds, aes(color, fill = clarity)) + geom_bar() + scale_fill_dutchmasters(palette = "milkmaid")
Or maybe the dark “staalmeesters” colors?
ggplot(diamonds, aes(color, fill = clarity)) + geom_bar() + scale_fill_dutchmasters(palette = "staalmeesters")
I leave the other four palettes for you to explore. In the future I will
certainly add more paintings, as the well of the Dutch masters seems bottomless.
A big thanks to the
ochRe team, for inspiration and groundwork. I hope that
this package motivates you to further explore the wonderful art of the Dutch