THEORY OF COLOURS

Though hardly a work of science, Goethe’s Theory of Colours stands as an absorbing account of the philosophy and artistic experience of colour, bridging the intuitive and the visceral in a way that, more than two hundred years later, continues to intrigue.

One of Goethe’s most radical points was a refutation of Newton’s ideas about the color spectrum, suggesting instead that darkness is an active ingredient rather than the mere passive absence of light.

…light and darkness, brightness and obscurity, or if a more general expression is preferred, light and its absence, are necessary to the production of colour… Colour itself is a degree of darkness.

For an interesting article on Goethe’s Theory of Colours read 19th-Century Insight Into the Psychology of Colour and Emotion by Maria Papova

Quote | Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Theory of Colours
Image | Colour Wheel designed by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1809

Notes

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