from the introduction: color: art and science

2003 NYTimes article titled “color cognition” by Dirk Olin quotes from the introduction to ”Colour: Art & Science” (Cambridge University Press, 1995, reprinted in 1999), edited by Trevor Lamb and Janine Bourriau.

”Although the idea of ‘colour’ may seem a simple concept, it conjures up very different ideas for each of us. To the physicist, colour is determined by the wavelength of light. To the physiologist and psychologist, our perception of colour involves neural responses in the eye and the brain, and is subject to the limitations of our nervous system. To the naturalist, colour is not only a thing of beauty but also a determinant of survival in nature. To the social historian and linguist, our understanding and interpretation of colour are inextricably linked to our own culture. To the art historian, the development of colour in painting can be traced both in artistic and technological terms. And for the painter, colour provides a means of expressing feelings and the intangible, making possible the creation of a work of art. . . . In the field of colour, the arts and the sciences now travel in unison, and together they provide a rich and comprehensive understanding of the subject.”