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Origins of Color Theory

Color theory has been discussed too many years ago. Below are the trials and postulations of philosophers and theorists' estimations of color phenomenon.

Pythagoreans (560)
The eyes send rays to the object and these rays give us information about the object's shape and color.

Empedocles (480)
Sight is an interaction between images ejected by the object being observed and an emanation of the eye. Matter is covered with pores which lay between smaller particles of matter and images of the object are transmitted out of these pores. He is also the first to theorize that the medium of sight (light) is from the object and is received by the visual perception organ (eye).

Socrates (440)
The eye and the object being observed creates a "white" or fire, and a corresponding sensation. If another object is observed, a different corresponding sensation is felt. He goes on to say that the fire from the eyes, and the white from the object together produce color.

Atomists of Democritus (400)
Objects constantly emit images. And there is enough variation and strength to distinguish between light and color impressions in the eye.

The human eye emits a light which shines out as a spirit to reach the object being observed.

Plato (360)
Rays from the eyes combine with discharges from the body, a bridge is formed between the object being observed and the eye. The eye is influenced by the object and stimulates awareness.

Aristotle (300)
Sight is the action of the object being observed upon the eye rays through the air which is activated by any luminous material.

Euclid (80)
Rays travel from the eyes to the object and scan the object to get an impression of it. Lays the groundwork for the principles of perspective.

Lucretius (130)
Impressions of the object being observed are made in the air by the action of sunlight entering the eye.

Studies light and light refraction passing from air into water and glass, and out of water and glass.

Galen (350)
Exterior aura comes from the object to the eye. There is an internal aura that never leaves the eye that prepares it for reproducing the aura coming from the outside.

Neo-Platonic (400)
Sight is purely psychical. There is an empathy between the eye and the object where the spirit sees the object in itself.

Theon of Alexandria (1200)
Rays radiate from the eye to the object, Because other senses such as the ears, mouth and nose are concavely shaped openings that receive input, and the eye is convex or ball-shaped, it must therefore be an emitter.

Grosseteste (1230)
All light comes from God, from which comes visibility as potent radiation.

Roger Bacon (1240)
Light is emitted from the eye which travel to the object and visually scans it so we can see it. The information that it sends back to the eye is how we are able to see.

Witelo (1452-1519)
The cause of all color is the mixing of the brilliance of light with shadows. Colors such as the blue feathers on the neck of a bird are caused by the shadows in between the feathers or by the shadow behind the lashes on the eye.

Leonardo Da Vinci (1629-1695)
Builds a camera obscura and compares its operation to that of the human eye.

Huygens (1642-1725)
Fine particles of the "ether" (that exists everywhere in the space which is not taken up by something else), is bombarded with fast moving particles of light-giving bodies. The collision spreads itself around the light source in the shape of a ball.

Newton (1773-1829)
Light rays are made up of extremely small particles of matter which are ejected by the light source.

Young (1788-1827)
Light is a wave phenomenon.

Fresnel (1821-1894)
Light radiation moves in wave formations.

Helmholtz (1831-1879)
Records the curves for the basic mixing colors: ultramarine blue, green and red. He ascribes these three colors and their mixing colors, to three kinds of color sensitive receptors in the eye. Continues the work of Young and Maxwell. This theory becomes known as the "Young-Helmholtz Three-Component theory".

Maxwell (1857-1894)
There is a relationship between light and electromagnetic waves. The speed of each is 300,000 km per second.

Hertz (1834-1913)
Measures the wavelength of electromagnetic radiation and determines the wavelength area of the eye that is sensitive.

Hering (1858-1947)
Each cone in the eye can be stimulated to produce two opposite color impressions by a chemical process. This becomes known as Hering's "Three Opponent theory".

Planck (1928)
Light energy only exists in specific amounts. Light is made up of quanta. (In physics, Quanta is the smallest amount of a physical quantity that can exist independently, especially a minute quantity of electromagnetic radiation)

Wright and Guild (1930)
Perfects the eye sensitivity curves for short, middle and long wavelength light. These curves become accepted by the Commission Internationale de l'Eclairage in 1931 as standards of spectral sensitivity, standard light sources and color measurement.

Granit (1969)
Measures energy generated by nerve discharge of isolated nerve fibres of the optic nerve.

De Valois (1973)
Develops a physiological scheme of color perception using both the "Young-Helmholtz Three-Component theory" and the "Three Opponent theory" of Hering.

Marks and MacNichol
Reveal their conclusions on differences in the chemical composition of the visual pigment and of separate cones.