Goethe's theory of colours, 19th century

Goethe's theory of colours, 19th century

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Credit: KING'S COLLEGE LONDON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Goethe's theory of colours. 19th-century diagrams of the changes in the appearance of colours related to circles, squares and strips. The diagram at lower right shows the effect of the background (black or white). These diagrams are from the 1840 English (Eastlake) edition of 'Theory of Colours' by German writer and philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832). This work was originally published in German in 1810 under the title 'Zur Farbenlehre'. Unlike Newton's 1704 work on optics, Goethe was primarily concerned with human perception of colours. His work was rejected by physicists, but taken up by later philosophers.

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