The Classic Period
Prior to the 19th century one can find references to the problem of lightness and color constancy, but no sustained experimental program. Most notable in this regard are the insightful writings of the Arab scholar Alhazen, a writer of astonishing modernity, though he lived 1,000 years ago. This chapter chronicles the scientific development of lightness theory that has unfolded in the West during the classic period, when great thinkers such as Alhazen, Ernst Mach, Hermann von Helmholtz, and Ewald Hering defined the basic problem of lightness constancy and staked out opposing solutions. Helmholtz, Hering, and Mach had all observed the effects of depth on lightness, but none of them gave depth the central role it would later be given by the Gestaltists.
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