Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Quick Spin on the Color Wheel

Color Wheel, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1810 
Color Wheel: It’s the first assignment in beginning art class. But where did the idea come from? Here in two parts, Jude Stewart brings us a concise history, lavishly illustrated, of the color wheel. The Wonderful Color Wheel: Part 1 starts in the 1700s and concludes with the publication of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Theory of Colours in 1810 in which he rebutts Newton's color spectrum theory. According to Goethe both light and dark are active forces that spark different colors when they collide.
Cylindrical Color System, Albert Henry Munsell, 1900

In The Wonderful Color Wheel: Part 2 the color wheel morphs into triangular shapes before returning to the circle. Says Stewart, “However inadequate, scientifically speaking, it is to describe the color-spectrum using a wheel-shaped model, there’s an irresistible fitness about marrying circles with color... For an entity as slippery and ubiquitous as color, only a circle can be imagined as a perfect enough shape to contain all of it.

Jude Stewart is a Print contributing editor and she tweets about color.

Tol's Color Wheel, Miss Shawn's Studio


  1. I love it! student will be very proud.

  2. I like Esty I have some cool Nancy Drew earrings made in New Zealand. I wear them to "book" events.