The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists

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The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists

The thinkers of the 17th and 18th centuries developed many theories of color and light. Artists, chemists, cartographers, poets, and even entomologists ... everyone seemed to have their own theory of color. A cascade of discoveries (diffraction, interference, double refraction) only exacerbated the general discord. Rene Descartes conducted and described studies of optics, Isaac Newton issued his famous work “Optics or a treatise on reflections, refractions, bends and colors of light”, and Goethe had his views on nature and color perception.
In 1672, Newton wrote the revolutionary "New Theory of Light and Colors." In it, he outlined his experiments with prisms, which proved that white light consists of seven different colors. Scientists discussed the theory of Newton in the 19th century, in the end it was found convincing.

1.

The color wheel of Goethe from the book "To the theory of color", which he illustrated the chapter "Allegorical, symbolic and mystical use of color", 1809 year.
The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists
Among those who disagree with Newton's theory was the poet, philosopher and naturalist Johann Wolfgang Goethe. He expressed his opinion in 1809 with his work “Towards a Theory of Color”, which he illustrated with neatly drawn color diagrams and circles (above). Despite the fallacy, Goethe’s views had historical significance mainly in the field of physiology and psychology of vision.

2.

Since the time of Newton and later theorists of color have developed concepts with color circles, the first of which was attributed to Newton in 1704 (picture above).
The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists
In the Newton color wheel there were “red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet in a natural sequence on a rotating disk”. Four years later, the artist Claude Bute created his 7-color and 12-color circles (below) based on Newtonian theories. Artists, chemists, cartographers, poets, and even entomologists ... everyone seemed to have a color theory, usually accompanied by elaborate color schemes and diagrams.

3.

7-colored and 12-colored circles by artist Claude Bute, 1708
The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists
The color wheel was one of many forms of representation of often contrasting theories.For example, Jacques-Fabien Gautier claimed that the primary colors were black and white. But the wheel and the main ideas of Newton about him, almost not having undergone changes, formed the basis of the correct theory of colors. The 1766 British entomologist Moses Harris wheel demonstrates Newton's 7-color scheme, simplified to 6 primary and secondary colors with tertiary gradations between them. Another entomologist, Johann Ignaz Schiffermüller, depicted a 12-color wheel (below).

4.

Moses Harris in 1766 introduced the “Natural Color System” and its color wheel.
The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists

5.

The color circle of the Austrian entomologist Johann Ignaz Schiffermüller from the treatise “Attempting to systematize colors”, 1772.
The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists

6.

The German ornithologist, entomologist, botanist and inventor Jacob Scheffer presented the palette in the form of a family tree in The Common Color Project, 1769. He divided colors into several families.
The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists

7.

The illustration of 1746 to the theory of Jacques-Fabien Gautier that the primary colors are black and white, and the red, yellow and blue are secondary.
The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists
Color is always representative. In the original color wheel of Newton “musical notes were related to color”. By the end of the 18th century, the theory of color was more and more closely tied to psychological theories and typologies, as in the wheel above called “The Rose of Temperaments”.He was created by Goethe and Friedrich Schiller in 1789 to illustrate "the activities of a man and his character traits." The Public Domain Review lists them: “tyrants, heroes, adventurers, hedonists, lovers, poets, orators, historians, educators, philosophers, pedants, rulers”, divided into four types of temperament of the humoral theory.

8.

“Rose of Temperament” by Goethe and Schiller, 1798/1799.
The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists
The transition from such a psychologism of color to what advertisers and commercial designers use in the 20th century or from color theories of artists and scientists to abstract expressionism, the Bauhaus school, chemists and photographers who recreated the colors of the world on film proved quite brief.

The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists images, pictures

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  • The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists

    The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists

    The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists

    The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists

    The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists

    The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists

    The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists

    The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists

    The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists

    The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists

    The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists

    The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists

    The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists

    The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists

    The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists

    The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists

    The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists

    The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists

    The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists

    The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists

    The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists

    The color circles of Newton, Goethe and other color theorists