Notes on Color

This seminar will explore the idea of color through a wide range of scientific, philosophical and aesthetic theories. While the eyes of normally sighted human beings render color in roughly the same manner, our reactions and ability to “see” color vary. Far from being a fixed entity, color is a deeply personal and psychological component of human perception and art. In addition to readings, presentations, and discussions, students will be required to keep two kinds of color diaries-one using portable watercolors and another using language-to chronicle their color perceptions, as well as write a paper on an artwork they encounter on campus.

Sample reading list:

Ludwig WittgensteinNotes on Color
Johan Wolfgang von GoetheTheory of Colors
Wassily KandinskyConcerning the Spriritual in Art
Rudolph SteinerColour
Julia KristevaBlack Sun
Michael TaussigWhat Color is The Sacred?

Reading/Writing assignments:
Two color diaries, one in watercolor and one in language of weekly perceptions. One paper on the color aspects of an artwork encountered on campus. 20 pages of reading per week.

Other Restrictions:
The seminar will regularly visit Princeton University Art Museum and contemporary architecture on campus, as well as go on a field trip to the Museum of Modern Art to meet with curators in the Painting and Sculpture and Photography Departments.





Wednesdays, 1:30 - 4:20 p.m.
185 Nassau St., Rm. 219


James Welling