Two thousand-plus years ago Plato said rays of light extend from our eyes, illuminating everything. Aristotle viewed color as a product of white and black, the prevailing belief until Isaac Newton.
1200s: Robert Grosseteste, the first chancellor of Oxford University, publishes De Colore, a grandiose metaphysical interpretation of light and color.
1400s: Lionello d'Este, the Marquis of Ferrara, Italy, chooses his daily clothing according to an astrological color code.
1435: Leon Battista Alberti, a Renaissance architect, musician and painter, relates colors to earthly elements. Red represents fire; blue, air; green, water; and gray, earth.
1593: Giovanni Battista, Della Porta, an Italian natural philosopher, introduces the oldest recognized color system.
1646: Athanasius Kirchner, Jesuit priest, mathematician and philosopher, says each musical sound corresponds to a specific color.
1666: Sir Isaac Newton, an English mathematician and physicist, discovers that white is composed of all the spectrum's colors.
1731: J.C. LeBlon recognizes the three primary colors of red, yellow and blue.
1750-1850: During the Industrial Revolution, synthetic pigments are introduced, expanding the range of available colors.
1766: Morris Harris, an English naturalist, publishes the first full-hue color chart, recognized by some as the true beginning of color theory.
1810: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe publishes The Theory of Colors, attacking Newton's theories. He's interested in laws of color harmony based on how colors affect us psychologically.
Mid 1800s: Ghadiali Dinshah, a naturalized American from India, researches effects of color on physical disease.
1864: Eugene Chevreul publishes "the most imporant catalogue in the world of ancient colors."
1912: In On the Spiritual in Art, Russian painter Wasilly Kandinsky notes psychological effects of color with analogies between music and art.
1913: American artist Albert Munsell determines physical characteristics such as hue, chroma, wavelength, brightness and purity.
1996: Don Jusko in American invents the "Real Color Wheel," considered the most accurate representation of colors and their relationship to each other.