Encyclopedia of Color Science and Technology

Living Edition
| Editors: Ronnier Luo


  • José Luis Caivano
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27851-8_248-1


Polychromy refers to the combination of many colors in a visual scene, whether it is a natural landscape or a man-made arrangement of things, for instance, a piece of art, a design, an object, a building, an urban landscape, etc. The word is formed by the Greek words poly (many) and chroma (color).


Colors can be divided into two separate classes: chromatic colors (such as red, green, blue, yellow, and any other tone), and achromatic colors (such as white, black, and grays). The characteristic of chromatic colors is that they have a definite hue, in addition to a certain saturation and lightness. Achromatic colors do not have a definite hue, and their saturation has a zero value; they are only distinguished by their lightness. When many chromatic colors of different hue appear together, this is called a polychromaticcomposition. If a composition uses colors of different saturation and lightness but of the same hue (for instance, different kinds of yellow that could...


Word Color Achromatic Color White Marble Chromatic Color Modern Architecture 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Secretaria de Investigaciones FADU-UBAUniversidad de Buenos Aires, and ConicetBuenos AiresArgentina