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The theory of colors between Goethe and Hegel

Grant number: 23/05180-9
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2023
Effective date (End): August 31, 2024
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy
Principal Investigator:Marco Aurélio Werle
Grantee:João Augusto Araújo Ferreira
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


This research aims to systematize the theoretical studies of J.W. Goethe about the chromatic phenomenon, initially undertaken from his Italian excursion, which took place between 1786 and 1788, and compiled in his Theory of Colors (1810), emphasizing the approach of Goethe's analysis with the subjectivity involved in the perception of color. This is also an approach that intends to explain the formative aspect of the research on colors, especially in painting, taken by the German poet, keeping in mind his writings prior to the publication of the analysis of the chromatic phenomenon. In the meantime, it is relevant to go back to Goethe's not very mature conceptions about the study of color - such as the accounts present in Voyage to Italy (1816), the commentary to Diderot's Essays on painting (1795), and the sketches of the critique of Newtonian mechanistic physics. In fact, the theory of colors, since Goethe's passage through Italian soil, provided important philosophical implications, especially with regard to the Hegelian philosophy of nature and studies on aesthetics. Such influence of Goethe on Hegel's work is exposed in two distinct moments that represent, even, a change in perspective of the Hegelian reception of such a study by Goethe. Having said that, the present research is inserted precisely in the unfolding of this passage, through the analysis of the color that reaches Hegel through Goethe, trying to understand how the German philosopher understands it from the Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences (1830) - in an exposition concerning his philosophy of nature - and in the Courses in Aesthetics (1835) - in his approach about the role played by color in a theory of painting.

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