Notes on Colour

misleading translations

Itten colour star Itten colour star 'translated'

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Explanation

The first illustration is a reproduction of a diagram by Itten showing his colour star, a 2-D representation of the colour sphere. The second illustration purports to be a translation of Itten’s diagram into English. But there’s a problem…

The colour names in this US translation have been rearranged in a way that distorts some significant information. For example, red is made to appear to be the complementary of green.   In the original version this was not the case—zinnober (vermilion) is shown as complementary to cyanblau (cyan) , not grün (green). In other words the diagram has been reworked to correspond to a misleading and currently fashionable colour circle instead of the original diagram.