Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
(August 28, 1749 - March 22, 1832)
by Jane K. Brown, University of Washington
Zur Farbenlehre
(1810; translated as Goethe's Theory of Colours, 1840),
he sometimes called it his single most important
It consists of three parts:
an exposition of Goethe's own theory of
a polemic against the Newtonian theory that white light is a
mixture of colors,
and a collection of materials on the history of color
theory from antiquity to Goethe's own time.
While Goethe's theory has
never been accepted by physicists,
his insight on the perception of color
have been influental,
as has his recognition that scientific ideas are
conditioned by their historical contexts.
Johann Wolfgang Goethe is widely recognized as the greatest writer of
the German tradition. The Romantic period in Germany
(the late eighteenth and early nineteengh centuries) is known as the age of Goethe,
and Goethe embodies the concerns of the generation defined by the
legacies of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanual Kant, and the French Revolution.
His stature derives not only from his literary achievments as a lyric poet,
novelist, and dramatist but also from his often significant contributions
as a scientist (geologist, botanist, anatomist, physicist, historian of
science) and as a critic and theorist of literature and of art.
for complete biography see this page out on the web

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