On the Shoulders of Giants, The Legacy of Newton, Goethe and Turner. 

Newton, Goethe and Turner are the undisputed giants in the fields of science, literature and art respectively. All three strove to understand the nature of light, darkness and colour. They did this not independently of their predecessors but in critical relation to them. Goethe's criticism of Newton is famous and the marginalia of Turner's copy of Goethe's Theory of Colours reveal that Goethe had not gone far enough for Turner's liking; he was still too Newtonian. Turner's criticism points to the idea of viewing Goethe's contribution as a stage in the metamorphosis of Newton's colour work that was then taken further by scientists such as Michael Wilson, philosophers such as Hegel and Wittgenstein, and artists such as Turner. 

In this two day conference we will explore stages of the metamorphosis of the study of light, darkness and colour initiated by Newton.

Please see the full programme here and abstracts for speakers. 


Anastasia Fourel (Humboldt University, Berlin)

Timm Lampert (Humboldt University, Berlin)

Marc Müller (University of Wuppertal)

Olaf Müller (Humboldt University, Berlin)

Diana Pauli (Stourbridge, UK)

Matthias Rang (Dornach, Switzerland)

Mark Rowe (University of East Anglia)

Dennis Sepper (University of Dallas, TX)

Daniel Steuer (University of Brighton)

Troy Vine (Humboldt University, Berlin)

Jonathan Westphal (Northampton, MA)

Gábor Zemplén (Budapest University)

For further details please contact Troy Vine

The conference fee includes lunch on each day. 

Image: Joseph Mallord William Turner; Lecture Diagram: Colour Circle No.2 c.1824-8 Copyright TATE CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported)

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