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Hippocrates, the Greek physician and philosopher renowned as the founder of medicine, classified people on the basis of their bodily liquids. There are sanguinic, melancholic, choleric, and phlegmatic types. From Latin antiquity on the common term to denote these bodily liquids had been the word (h)umor, and the mixture of the humours had been thought to determine a persons temperament, the extent of his or her humour. The Hippocratean categories later came to be used to define almost everything: seasons, periods of the day, the principal elements, Zodiacal signs, tastes, ways of thinking, basic characteristics, stages of human life, or branches of art.
Thinking in types soon became an obvious option in art too, and colours provided the means to achieve it.