11. Color (Theory) in Art

  1. Rolf G. Kuehni

Published Online: 9 OCT 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118533567.ch11

Color: An Introduction to Practice and Principles, Third Edition

Color: An Introduction to Practice and Principles, Third Edition

How to Cite

Kuehni, R. G. (2012) Color (Theory) in Art, in Color: An Introduction to Practice and Principles, Third Edition, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA. doi: 10.1002/9781118533567.ch11

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 9 OCT 2012
  2. Published Print: 9 NOV 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781118173848

Online ISBN: 9781118533567



  • Goethe color triangle;
  • Jackson Pollock;
  • Nicolas Poussin;
  • pictorial art;
  • Pliny;
  • Southern France cave images;
  • wall paintings


The question of the essence of pictorial art and beauty has been the subject of thought and discussion since ancient times. The range of pictorial art is huge, from the images in the caves of Southern France and Northern Spain, the paintings and frescoes of the Renaissance, the fantastic images of Blake, to realistic color photography, the huge canvases of abstract expressionist paintings, and the drip canvases of Jackson Pollock. In the first century CE, Pliny the Elder wrote a Natural History, including a canon of great artists of the Greek classical world. Italian painting is often thought to have declined in the seventeenth century into the baroque, the highest achievements shifting north and west, as exemplified in the works of Rubens, Vermeer, van Dyck, Velàzquez, Hals, Rembrandt, and Poussin. An indication of Goethe’s extended impact on color theory for painters is the so-called Goethe color triangle.

Controlled Vocabulary Terms

art; painting