it tends to recede into the background

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Senior Member
Hi there
I know the meaning of each word in the underlined part, but I cannot understand what it says. Could you please explain it to me? Following text is a part of a conversation that I copy it from its transcription for you.

Professor: It was believed that blue couldn't be an important color in a painting because… well… it tends to recede into the background. Not good for the main subject. So to show otherwise, the painter created the blue boy…

Thank you in advance
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    It doesn't stand out. It isn't as striking as red or orange, say. This would be especially true of an outdoor subject, where blue may seem to merge into the sky and the sea behind it.
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