Color theory of Goethe and its relation to human personality

English - April 29, 2015

The great writer and intellectual Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, with his work on color theory, laid the foundation of the psychology of color know it Currently, highlighting the human perception as the forgotten aspect Newtonian theories.

The study has sparked color, along history, the attention of many scholars. And it is a factor as enigmatic as fascinating nature, which is surprising, and it is not over yet completely deciphered science, especially in color perception processes. Also, the study areas that have addressed this issue are few, as well as attributes, scientists and non-scientists, who have been associated with colors.

The latter, this kind of subjective perception is the center of study by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Yes, the author of letters of ‘Faustfather of German romanticism, was a passionate deep study of color and ardent critic of Newton about his studies of color.

‘Zur Farbenlehre’

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The German title is one that has his work published in 1810. ‘Theory of Color‘ is the work that Goethe boasted as one of its achievements The more you proud:

I do not too proud of my achievements as a poet. In my time creative writers have lived great, he has been even brighter before me, and always will be after my time. But being the only one in my century who knows the truth about the theory of colors … That’s what I’m proud and gives me a feeling of superiority over many.

“know the truth” he referred directly to understand what he said: the subjective perception of color. Just this was the criticism from the scientific community, and that it was opposed to studies of , specifically in his work ‘Optical‘, published in 1704. The differences between Goethe and Newton they have been extensively addressed by several studies, but the specific difference is that Goethe took a leading role in color perception, the subjective aspect of this by attributing a value class, a kind of personality to colors. This, of course, entails an immediate detachment of scientists but not for the relevance of his claims methods. Goethe is the precursor master of color psychology as such. This study is based on analyzing the effect of color on the perception and human behavior.

‘The Rose of the Temperaments’

The Rose of the Temperaments

The history of the publication ‘Theory of Color’ is set in a study conducted by the philosopher and historian Friedrich Schiller, this work he was called “Rose of the Temperaments’, conducted between 1978 and 1979. This is a list of colors with the character traits of people. That is: twelve colors twelve temperaments or occupations: tyrants, heroes, adventurers, hedonists, lovers, poets, public speakers, historians, teachers, philosophers, pedantic, rulers, and these, in turn, grouped in the Four Temperaments derived from Greek and Roman philosophical theory of old, and they are: choleric, melancholic, sanguine and phlegmatic

The subjective sense of studies. Goethe, as I said, does not detract from what today is known as color psychology. Strictly speaking, this study is not a science, but its influence is present in the arts, fashion, design, architecture, because color plays a very important element for these materials.

So, Goethe, although many of their claims were rejected by modern physics, plus he had his own critics at the time, he was supported by quite a few personalities from different areas and at different times, as the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, physical Thomas Johann Seebeck and Hermann von Helmholtz. In addition to artists like English J. MW Turner and the great Wassily Kandinsky.

The color circle

Color Circle Goethe

There are different circles of color, following a line of cataloging: primary colors, secondary color attributes: tone, intensity, degree. The light (additives) and pigment colors (subtractive) colors are also noted, however, all these modern approaches were not entirely settled (and accepted) at the time that Goethe made his studies and catalogs. He, in turn, made a circle of color attributing certain “natural order“. In his circle placed oppositely blue, red and yellow, the combination of these, in turn, are other colors, we know, as such, secondary and tertiary.

The touch Goethe was he made, what he called a diagram of the human mind, and attributed to each color aspects which in any case explain the complex behavior of people. He also made other triangular diagrams that was based on the emotional content of each color. These attributes are present in the psychology of color, though, I would add, is not an absolute position, of course, the cultural aspect of color is something that also affects the subjective attributes which we perceive the colors.

In order Left. Der. Lucidity, Serenity, Power, Melancholy, Serious

So, Goethe, in his study of color left us an explanation of the color, yes maybe Sides by science, but of little relevance in the current href=”” psychology color. It is noteworthy the sensitivity of the author to the nature, and its poetic form to capture their concepts.

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Following are the attributes associated with each color Goethe

Yellow. It’s the closest to the light color. At its highest purity that always carries the nature of brightness, it has a gentle nature, serene exciting. On the other hand it is very susceptible to pollution, produces a very nasty and negative effect stain

Blue. We can say that blue is a principle of darkness in him. This color has a unique and almost indescribable effect on the eye. At its highest purity is, as it were, a stimulating negation. His appearance is thus a kind of contradiction between excitement and repose

red. The effect of this color is as unique as its nature. An impression of gravity and dignity is transmitted, while grace and appeal. The first of its dark and deep state, the last in the dim light

Purple:. Purple is the color of maturity and experience. In a lighter shade it expresses deep mysticism, mystery, melancholy, it is the color of intuition and magic; in its purple hue is a symbol of royalty, luxury and dignity

Orange:. Mixture of yellow and red, has the qualities of both, although to a lesser degree. It is the color of energy, a color for primary temperaments, which appeals to children, barbarians and savages because it reinforces their natural tendencies to enthusiasm, the ardor, the euphoria …

Green: This color is comforting, frees the spirit and balances the sensations. The eye experiences a state of pleasure when he watches