Light Darkness and Colours

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Using Goethe’s Theory of Colours (Zur Farbenlehre) as point of departure, Light Darkness and Colours takes us on a fascinating journey through the universe of colours. In 1704, Sir Isaac Newton published *Light and Refraction*, his study of the interactions between sunlight and prisms. Newton was, as a good scientist, intent on achieving objectivity, which meant studying sunlight in isolation. He thought colours were contained solely in light, and found the spectrum he was looking for. When he reproduced this experiment, Goethe found another, hidden set of colours missed by Newton. Goethe found the hidden colours in the boundaries between light and darkness. He felt, as an artist, that one could not talk about light without including darkness. Calling it ‘the light-darkness polarity’, Goethe made this new scientific discovery using artistic methods in conjunction with science.

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