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The first of all simple colours is White, though philosophers will not acknowledge either White or Black to be colours; because the first is the cause, or the receiver of colours, the other totally deprived of them. But as painters cannot do without either, we shall place them among the others; and according to this order of things, White will be the first, Yellow the second, Green the third, Blue the fourth, Red the fifth, and Black the sixth. We shall set down White for the representative of light, without which no colour can be seen; Yellow for the earth; Green for water; Blue for air; Red for fire; and Black for total darkness.

Leonardo da Vinci