Understanding Color

959 Words4 Pages
Since the age of Aristotle, great minds have questioned the various natures of reality: how a concept works and how humans perceive it. The fundamentals of colour were one such mystery. As an unstable property, the secrets of colour have eluded philosophers, artists, and scientists for centuries, until 1666 when Sir Isaac Newton discovered the properties of light. Thanks to visionaries such as Newton, Hermann von Helmholtz, and Georges Seurat modern understanding of colour can be explained in a variety of manners and can now be categorized according to medium. Seperated into ‘light’ and ‘pigment’, colours are viewed as individual entities as their application and combinations create alternate visual features that…show more content…
Though not the socially best example, television is one of the practical applications of pigment primaries in modern society. Colour application in art can best be analyzed in the context of Impressionist Art. Specifically, looking at Neo-Impressionist artist Georges Seurat ( 1859-1891)2 shows the practical applications that colour theory has in a purely artistic context. Chromoluminarism, also known as Pointillism, is a form of painting that is completely composed of ‘dots’ strategically placed in close fashion to create an image. Influenced by Ogden Rood’s book titled ‘Modern Chromatics’ (1879), Seurat created the foremost example of chromoluminarism in current art history: ‘A Sunny Afternoon at the Grande Jatter’ 1886. Apart from the work’s incredible complexity, it demonstrates another concept in the ways humans view colour. Colour is understood as unstable, because of the way it reacts to both quantities of light as well as other colours. Primary and Secondary colours are the foundations of what is known as ‘Complementary colours’ which, on a colour wheel, are opposite one another. Placing complementaries next to, or on top of one another, will visually alter their properties for the viewer, despite the fact that neither colour has changed at all. However, this is not limited to complementary colours; primary, secondary, and tertiary colours can all change properties when coupled with another colour. Seurat utilizes this concept in his work
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