Steiner Quotes on Color and Art

Collected by Sharon Lombard

Sharon Lombard is a long time PLANS member and our resident Waldorf/Steiner/Anthroposophy scholar-in-the-making. Below are some interesting quotes by Rudolf Steiner on color and art that Sharon has collected in the course of her research.

Introduction by Sharon Lombard

Anyone interested in why Waldorf classrooms are painted certain colors should pay special attention to the following Steiner sermon in which he teaches that those who devote themselves to wall color (applied with his technique called “lazuring”) will learn to see through walls, see neighborhood houses and spirit beings!


“You will best realize the significance of colour if we describe how it affects the occultist. For this it is necessary that a person should free himself completely from everything else and devote himself to the particular colour, immerse himself in it. If the person devoting himself to the colour which covers these physically dense walls were one who had made certain occult progress, it would come about that after a period of this complete devotion the walls would disappear from his clairvoyant vision; the consciousness that the walls shut off the outer world would vanish. Now, what appears first is not merely that he sees the neighboring houses outside, that the walls become like glass, but in the sphere which opens up there is a world of purely spiritual phenomena; spiritual facts and spiritual figures become visible. We need only reflect that behind everything around us physically there are spiritual beings and facts…The worlds which surround us spiritually are of many kinds, many different kinds of elementary beings are around us. These are not enclosed in boxes or in such a state that they live in various houses… But they cannot all be seen in the same way; according to the capacity of clairvoyant vision, there may be visible and invisible beings in the same space. What spiritual beings become visible in any particular instance depends on the colour to which we devote ourselves. In a red room, other beings become visible than in a blue room, when one penetrates to them by means of colour. We may now ask: what happens if one is not clairvoyant? That which the clairvoyant does consciously is done unconsciously by the etheric body of a person not clairvoyantly trained; it enters a certain relationship with the same beings.”

[Lecture given by Steiner in dedication of the Stuttgart House under which lay his Rosicrucian temple. 15 October 1911. Art Inspired by Rudolf Steiner, John Fletcher Mercury Arts Publications 1987]

“A nervous, that is to say excitable child should be treated differently as regards environment from one who is quiet and lethargic. everything comes into consideration, from the colour of the room and various objects that are generally around the child, to the colour of the clothes in which he is dressed…An excitable child should be surrounded by and dressed in red and reddish-yellow colours, whereas for a lethargic child one should have recourse to the blue or bluish-green shades of colour. For the important thing is the complimentary colour, which is created within the child. In the case of red it is green, and in the case of blue orange-yellow”

[Brunhild Muller,7-8. Painting with Children, Floris Books, Edinburgh 1994]


“To delight in art that is materialistic increases the difficulties of the Kamaloca state, whereas delight in spiritual art lightens them. Every noble, spiritual delight shortens the time in Kamaloca. Already during earthly life we must break ourselves of pleasures and desires which can be satisfied only by the physical instrument”

[Rudolf Steiner, 35. Theosophy of the Rosicrucian. Rudolf Steiner Press, London, reprint 1981. Lectures from 1907]

“WE MUST emphasize again and again that the anthroposophical world-conception fosters a consciousness of the common source of art, religion and science. During ancient periods of evolution these three were not separated; they existed in unity. The Mysteries which fostered that unity were a kind of combination art institute, church and school. For what they offered was not a one-sided sole dependence upon language. The words uttered by the initiate as both cognition and spiritual revelation were supported and illustrated by sacred rituals unfolding, before listening spectators, in mighty pictures”

[Rudolf Steiner, 83. The Arts and Their Mission. Anthroposophic Press. New York 1964, lectures from 1923]

“If you use a lot of abstractions with children, you will stimulate them to concentrate particularly intensively upon the formation of carbonic acid in the blood and upon the crystallization process in the body, upon dying. If you bring children as many living pictures as possible, if you educate them by speaking in pictures, then you sow the seed for a continuous retention of oxygen, for continuous development, because you direct the children toward the future, toward life after death”

[Rudolf Steiner, 62. The Foundations of Human Experience: Foundations of Waldorf Education. Anthroposophic Press 1996]