beauty from nature by RW Emerson


Reading about color in art and philosophy that is explored during the Renaissance after the religious and symbolic period we find that the discoveries are based on rational thinking. As we all know Newton’s discovery of the ” white” color in light containing the color spectrum and Goethe’s more personal and cultural approach encourage more discoveries about the color effects on the senses. Goethe also connected color with texture which I think requires a great amount of observation. He observed that a bright yellow to gold on a satin fabric would create a rich appearance but the same color on an ordinary material  might have an adverse effect. Kandinsky took a spiritual approach to color and connected geometric forms circle, square and triangle to the primary colors red, yellow and blue. Lastly I found out that Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in an essay on Nature and Art about beauty, eye and creativity which we can apply to color.

Beauty from Nature : addresses and lectures by RW Emerson

A nobler want of man is served by nature, namely, the love of Beauty.

The ancient Greeks called the world {kosmos}, beauty. Such is the constitution of all things, or such the plastic power of the human eye, that the primary forms, as the sky, the mountain, the tree, the animal, give us a delight in and for themselves; a pleasure arising from outline, color, motion, and grouping. This seems partly owing to the eye itself. The eye is the best of artists. By the mutual action of its structure and of the laws of light, perspective is produced, which integrates every mass of objects, of what character soever, into a well colored and shaded globe, so that where the particular objects are mean and unaffecting, the landscape which they compose, is round and symmetrical. And as the eye is the best composer, so light is the first of painters. There is no object so foul that intense light will not make beautiful. And the stimulus it affords to the sense, and a sort of infinitude which it hath, like space and time, make all matter gay. Even the corpse has its own beauty. But besides this general grace diffused over nature, almost all the individual forms are agreeable to the eye, as is proved by our endless imitations of some of them, as the acorn, the grape, the pine-cone, the wheat-ear, the egg, the wings and forms of most birds, the lion’s claw, the serpent, the butterfly, sea-shells, flames, clouds, buds, leaves, and the forms of many trees, as the palm.