Simultaneous contrast in sight is readily understood. Consider an intense beam of blue light, surrounded by white light, striking our retinas. Where the blue light strikes, the blue cones will be stimulated, overloaded and fatigued.
An optical effect caused by the tendency of contrasting forms and colours to emphasize their difference when placed together.
Site-Specific Art ...
Simultaneous Contrast is the phenomenon which occurs when a color appears to change when seen against a different background. A set of principles were first laid out in the 19th century by Chevreul, a dye master for the Gobelin tapestry works, who became an important color theoretician.
Simultaneous Contrast - The tendency of complementary colors to seem brighter and more intense when placed side by side.
Simultaneous Contrasts: Sun and Moon, oil on canvas painting by Robert Delaunay, 1912-13, Museum of Modern Art, (New York City) ...
Robert Delaunay, Simultaneous Contrasts: Sun and Moon, 1913 (dated 1912), oil on canvas, diameter 53 inches (134.5 cm), Museum of Modern Art, NY. See circle.
Robert Delaunay, Joie de vivre (The Joy of Life), 1930 , oil on canvas, 200 x 228 cm, Georges Pompidou Center, Paris.
There are three major classes of the interaction of color: simultaneous contrast, successive contrast, and reverse contrast (or assimilation). (i) Simultaneous contrast may take place when one area of color is surrounded by another area of a different color.
One of the resources Delaunay used to arrive at a way of integrating colour and Cubism was a book on simultaneous contrasts (De la loi du contraste simultané des couleurs, 1839), by the chemist Michel-Eugène Chevreul.
Only in this way have I found the laws of complementary and simultaneous contrasts of colors which sustain the very rhythm of my vision. In this movement of colors I find the essence, which does not arise from a system, or an a priori theory.
Many of these painters ignore the law of simultaneous contrast as established by Chevreul in 1823.
Paintings which exemplified this branch of Cubism are Sonia Delaunay's "Simultaneous Contrasts," and Robert Delaunay's "Circular Forms," and Leger's "Contrast of Forms.
The principle of simultaneous contrast suggested that colors were perceived more strongly when juxtaposed with their opposites—orange with blue, for example, or green with red. The silky texture of Renoir's feathery brushstrokes mirrors the languid and leisurely scenes.
The interaction of differing colours in the painting - simultaneous contrast, successive contrast, and reverse contrast - may cause additional retinal effects.
simultaneous contrast A property of complementary colors when placed side by side, resulting in the fact that both appear brighter and more intense than when seen in isolation.
spectrum The colored bands of visible light created when sunlight passes through a prism.
See also: What is the meaning of Painting, Impression, Movement, Depth, Impressionism?