I-83 Steiner, expanding on Goethe, on color
Lects. 1 and 2; The Arts and their Mission, Lects. 7 and 8
the realm of color, we again find Steiner and the “scientific” view
to be at odds as to its nature or objectivity. The Newtonian approach
to color is based on the spectrum and the measurement of wave lengths.
Steiner basically adopted and carried further Goethe’s approach to color.
There are two types of colors, “image” and “lustre,” exemplified by
colors, as their name implies, are an image of something, namely, Green—plant;
Peach-blossom—human soul; White—light and Black—lifeless. These are
derived as follows:
from the plant, which owes its existence to the fact that it has,
in addition to its physical body, an etheric (life) body. The etheric
body is not green; the green is to be found in its physical body.
Although green belongs to the plant in a most intimate way, it is
not the essential nature of the plant, for that lies in the etheric
body. It is the mineral nature that appears as green. Therefore, green
represents the lifeless image of the living.
human nature is revealed by the way the soul flows into one’s physical
form in the color of one’s skin. Thus, peach-blossom represents
the living image of the soul.
as light gives us something of our own spirit, our “I Am,” we can
say that white or light represents the soul’s image of the spirit.
represents black (though it also represents a diamond under certain
circumstances). A carbonized plant is dead. Black shows itself alien
to life. The soul deserts us when blackness is within us, the spirit
can flourish. It can penetrate the blackness and assert itself within
it. However spirit is the only thing that can be brought into it.
Thus, black represents the spiritual image of the lifeless.
gives us the following drawing, in which the outer circle represents
the “Illuminant,” the middle circle the “Shadow-thrower,” and the inner
circle the “Image:” (click here for drawing)
The outer circle thus moves clockwise from
twelve o'clock through the cycle of nature from the lifeless to the
living, to the ensouled beings, and finally to beings of spirit.
He then depicts the lustre colors by the following
|Yellow must shine outward;
|Blue shines inward;
|Red is uniform through
out in its
These lustre colors are illustrated by
the following: (click here for illustration)
While black, white, green and peach-blossom
are images or pictures of something, yellow, blue and red are lustrous,
something shines from them, as follows:
is the lustre of the spirit;
is the lustre of the soul;
is the lustre of the living.