Newton color circle

Newton's color circle

Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727), English mathematician and physicist observed the phenomenon of light refracted by a glass prism and concluded that white light is a mixture of varied color rays.
The Colours Of  Light, photo by Tim Watson, flickr photos Opticks In 1704 Newton published Opticks.


goethe color wheel

Goethe's color wheel.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), poet and author of Faust, published Theory of Colours in 1810. As a color theorist, he was more interested in how we perceive color.
For more on his ideas see Goethe's Color Theory.


Chevreul's chromatic diagram.

Michel Eugène Chevreul (1786-1889) wrote The Principles of Harmony and Contrast of Colours and Their Applications to the Arts.
He observed that the colors we perceive are influenced by surrounding colors leading to the idea of simultaneous contrast.



Here is a color sphere published in an 1810 manuscript by Phillip Otto Runge, a German painter.

The Munsell Color System was a three dimensional model which applied letter and number values to Hue, Value and Saturation (chroma).