Goethe: The story of colour


Manage episode 262478150 series 1301455
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The German polymath Johann Wolfgang von Goethe considered his monumental book known in English as The Theory of Colours to be his greatest achievement. The book is a record of hundreds of Goethe’s observations about the way colour affects our mood, as well as a long and heated polemic with Isaac Newton’s colour theory. Goethe’s understanding of light and colour was scientifically flawed yet his book had a surprisingly strong influence on the fine and applied arts. To find out why, Bridget Kendall talks to art historian Alexandra Loske, colour writer Victoria Finlay and designer Odette Steele. Alexandra Loske is an art historian who teaches at the University of Sussex, Curator at the Royal Pavilion and Brighton Museums and co-editor of the book Languages of Colour; Victoria Finlay is a writer, former arts editor of the South China Morning Post and the author of Colour, Travels through the Paintbox and The Brilliant History of Color in Art; Odette Steele is a Zambian textile designer recent and a graduate from the London College of Fashion at the University of the Arts, London. Photo: Goethe’s colour wheel, 1809. (Credit: Freies Deutsches Hochstift / Frankfurter Goethe-Museum)

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