Historic Look on Color Theory


The science of color is called chromatics, colorimetry, or color science. This field of science includes the perception of color by the human eye, origin of colors, art theory, therapy, the psychics of electromagnetic radiation, and effects on the brain (Azeemi). Experts throughout time have desired to decipher the composition of color to explain how and why humans are able to see colors in order to use them in numerous disciplines; from scientific to artistic. While color has been studied since ancient times, the technical workings and the modern understandings of color theory are difficult to comprehend, and one wishes to make the science more palatable. These studies have been a global pursuit. However, many important discoveries and scholars were lost over time, or inaccurately credited. The following paper takes on the historic look on color science to examine how the understanding of color has evolved over time from ancient studies until the early 19th century while unearthing uncredited experts that are not immediately recognized in modern discussion on the subject. Some experts, like Ibn al-Haytham, have been forgotten throughout time while others have been overly credited (O’Connor). At first color is defined and how colors interact with each other is explained. Secondary research and criticism of color science history is used to compare, and dispute generally accepted, ideas of color theory that were discovered until the 19th century (Popova). The purpose is to give the reader a comprehensive understanding of color science, the historical evolution of the field and expose forgotten contributors

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