A word used, from 1912 on, by the poet Guillaume Apollinaire, particularly in the lecture he gave in Berlin at the time of Delaunay's exhibition at the Der Sturm Gallery, to designate the movement in the new painting of the time, which proclaimed the primacy of pure colour in pictorial construction. Realizing the extent to which these manifestations of vitality reflected a will to escape the severe harmonies of Picasso and Braque, Apollinaire prophesied the disruption of Cubism; then, invoking the name of Orpheus, under whose patronage he had just placed the poems of his Bestiary, or Cortège of Orpheus, he compared the experiments of Delaunay, Kupka and the young painters surrounding them to the poetic and musical games whose fancy delighted him. According to Apollinaire, Delaunay believed that when a primary colour does not determine its complementary, it shatters in the atmosphere and produces simultaneously all the colours of the spectrum. After having stressed his attachment to the pure colours of Ingres and praised Seurat's major creation, the contrast of colours, Delaunay claimed that behind all pure expression in modern painting there would thereafter be Simultaneous Contrast, the sole means of securing dynamism of colours and their arrangement in the picture. This exaltation of the dynamic mission of colour brought forth an entirely new art, with its own laws of creation, capable of emerging from any objective, visual representation of Nature.

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