Theory of Colours

Theory of Colours

Paperback Dover Fine Art, History of Art

By (author) Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Translated by Charles Locke Eastlake

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  • Publisher: Dover Publications Inc.
  • Format: Paperback | 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 137mm x 216mm x 18mm | 295g
  • Publication date: 27 October 2006
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0486448053
  • ISBN 13: 9780486448053
  • Illustrations note: 13
  • Sales rank: 84,159

Product description

The wavelength theory of light and color had been firmly established by the time the great German poet published his "Theory of Colours" in 1810. Nevertheless, Goethe believed that the theory derived from a fundamental error, in which an incidental result was mistaken for a elemental principle. Far from affecting a knowledge of physics, he maintained that such a background would inhibit understanding. The conclusions Goethe draws here rest entirely upon his personal observations. This volume does not have to be studied to be appreciated. The author's subjective theory of colors permits him to speak persuasively of color harmony and aesthetics. These notions may evoke a positive response on their merits, but even among those who regard them as pure fantasy, the grace and style of Goethe's exposition provide abundant rewards. Although his scientific reasoning on this subject has long since been dismissed, modern readers continue to appreciate the beauty and sweep of Goethe's conjectures regarding the connection between color and philosophical ideas. In addition, he offers insights into early nineteenth-century beliefs and modes of thought as well as a taste of European life during the Enlightenment.

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Table of contents

Translator's Preface Preface to the First Edition of 1810 Introduction Part I. Physiological Colours. I. Effects of Light and Darkness on the Eye II. Effects of Black and White Objects on the Eye III. Grey Surfaces and Objects IV. Dazzling Colourless Objects V. Coloured Objects VI. Coloured Shadows VII. Faint Lights VIII. Subjective Halos   Pathological Colours--Appendix Part II. Physical Colours. IX. Dioptrical Colours X. Dioptrical Colours of the First Class XI. Dioptrical Colours of the Second Class--Refraction   Subjective Experiments XII. Refraction without the Appearance of Colour XIII. Conditions of the Appearance of Colour XIV. Conditions under which the Appearance of Colour increases XV. Explanation of the foregoing Phenomena XVI. Decrease of the Appearance of Colour XVII. Grey Objects displaced by Refraction XVIII. Coloured Objects displaced by Refraction XIX. Achromatism and Hyperchromatism XX. Advantages of Subjective Experiments--Transition to the Objective   Objective Experiments XXI. Refraction without the Appearance of Colour XXII. Conditions of the Appearance of Colour XXIII. Conditions of the Increase of Colour XXIV. Explanation of the foregoing Phenomena XXV. Decrease of the Appearance of Colour XXVI. Grey Objects XXVII. Coloured Objects XXVIII. Achromatism and Hyperchromatism XXIX. Combination of Subjective and Objective Experiments XXX. Transition XXXI. Catoptrical Colours XXXII. Paroptical Colours XXXIII. Epoptical Colours Part III. Chemical Colours. XXXIV. Chemical Contrast XXXV. White XXXVI. Black XXXVII. First Excitation of Colour XXXVIII. Augmentation of Colour XXXIX. Culmination XL. Fluctuation XLI. Passage through the Whole Scale XLII. Inversion XLIII. Fixation XLIV. Intermixture, Real XLV. Intermixture, Apparent XLVI. Communication, Actual XLVII. Communication, Apparent XLVIII. Extraction XLIX. Nomenclature L. Minerals LI. Plants LII. Worms, Insects, Fishes LIII. Birds LIV. Mammalia and Human Beings LV. Physical and Chemical Effects of the Transmission of Light through Coloured Mediums LVI. Chemical Effect in Dioptrical Achromatism Part IV. General Characteristics. The Facility with which Colour appears The Definite Nature of Colour Combination of the Two Principles Augmentation to Red Junction of the Two Augmented Extremes Completeness the Result of Variety in Colour Harmony of the Complete State Facility with which Colour may be made to tend either to the Plus or Minus side Evanescence of Colour Permanence of Colour Part V. Relation to Other Pursuits. Relation to Philosophy Relation to Mathematics Relation to the Technical Operations of the Dyer Relation to Physiology and Pathology Relation to Natural History Relation to General Physics Relation to the Theory of Music Concluding Observations on Terminology Part VI. Effect of Colour with Reference to Moral Associations. Yellow Red-Yellow Yellow-Red Blue Red-Blue Blue-Red Red Green Completeness and Harmony Characteristic Combinations Yellow and Blue Yellow and Red Blue and Red Yellow-Red and Blue-Red Combinations Non-Characteristic Relation of the Combinations to Light and Dark Considerations derived from the Evidence of Experience and History Æsthetic Influence Chiaro-Scuro Tendency to Colour Keeping Colouring Colour in General Nature Colour of Particular Objects Characteristic Colouring Harmonious Colouring Genuine Tone False Tone Weak Colouring The Motley Dread of Theory Ultimate Aim Grounds Pigments Allegorical, Symbolical, Mystical Application of Colour Concluding Observations