Red Hood, Blue Beard

Fairy-tale colours and experiments

Exhibition from 13.11.2019 to 13.04.2020

The eye of the beholder is fascinated by colours. Their symbolic meaning, their cultural and historical significance – which often developed over several centuries and are also reflected in fairy tales – are equally fascinating. In the works of the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen or Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, colours are not chosen at random, but have their own individual meaning: gold stands for prosperity and perfection, white represents godliness and sublimity, whereas black is generally associated with death and the devil.  

The 19th century saw many ground-breaking scientific discoveries related to the physical aspects of colour and human vision, as well as the publication of important collections of folk and fairy tales, such as the Brothers Grimm’s Children’s and Household Tales. This happy meeting of scientific research and creative imagination inspired GRIMMWELT Kassel to explore the significance of colours in fairy tales: why is Red Riding Hood’s hood red, of all things, and why is a blue beard odd? The exhibition for adults and children attempts to answer these and many other intriguing questions. Impressive original illustrations and books of fairy tales are combined with historical scientific experiments to guarantee an exciting voyage of discovery and insights into a topic which has not yet received the attention it deserves.

Companion publication to the exhibition