Seeing Colour

A Journey Through Goethe's World of Colour

by Nora Lobe


Colour is everywhere. From blue skies to red sunsets, from the first flowers in spring to the blazing leaves of autumn. But what is the nature of colour? Scientific books present a variety of mechanical explanations but this approach leaves colour as a whole unexplained. In the nineteenth century, the German poet and scientist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe investigated a wide range of colour phenomena and discovered the underlying principles that govern colour itself.

This lavishly illustrated book brings Goethe's pioneering research up to date. Through descriptions of simple observations and ingenious experiments, the reader will discover a series of colour phenomena that includes afterimages, coloured shadows, colour mixing, and prismatic and polarisation colours.

Seeing Colour is a thought-provoking read for colour enthusiasts and experts alike, and an accessible route to a new way of seeing colour.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Arthur Zajonc


  1. Sight and Image
  2. Colours Arising From the Eye
  3. Colours Arising From Colourless Media
  4. Colours Arising From Coloured Media
  5. The Complementarity of Colour Experiments
  6. Sight and Coloured Light
  7. The Order of Colours


The Experiment As Mediator Between Object and Subject by J. W. von Goethe

A Bibliographical Essay on Goethean Approaches to Colour Science






ISBN: 9781782507802
Publisher: Floris Books
Format: Paperback