Violet vs Purple

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In the traditional color wheel used by painters, violet and purple are both placed between red and blue. Purple occupies the space closer to red, between crimson and violet. Violet is closer to blue, and is usually less intense and bright than purple. While the two colors do look similar, from the point of view of optics there are important differences.

Violet is a spectral, or real color – it occupies its own place at the end of the spectrum of light, and it has its own wavelength (approximately 380-420 nm). It was one of the colors of the spectrum first identified by Isaac Newton in 1672, whereas purple is simply a combination of two colors, red and blue. There is no such thing as the “wavelength of purple light”; it only exists as a combination.

 

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