The Evolution of Colors in Ancient Art: From Cave Paintings to Vibrant Temples

TLDR Early humans in prehistory started with simple colors like black and red, but as civilization developed, they discovered and used a wider range of colors in their artwork. From the creation of more permanent pigments to the use of expensive purple dyes, the ancient world was far more colorful than most people realize, with buildings and statues originally being brightly colored.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 Early humans in prehistory used colors they found around them, such as black and dark red, to create the first works of art on cave walls, but as time went on, they learned how to create more colors and used them in different ways.
01:40 The first artwork created by human beings was likely someone scratching an image on a rock with a burning stick, using the black soot as the first form of art, but eventually, they discovered a more permanent pigment by mixing charcoal with animal fat.
03:12 Ochre and white were the primitive colors used by early humans in cave paintings, but as civilization developed, humans discovered more colors such as vermilion and blue.
04:39 Egyptian blue and indigo were popular blue pigments used by ancient civilizations, while green pigments such as malachite and vertigris were not as readily available.
06:03 The Phoenicians were the ones who created a true purple dye using the mucus of predatory sea snails, and this purple dye was so expensive that only royalty could afford it.
07:35 Purple became synonymous with the emperor, and the creation of the purple dye was a closely guarded secret due to its expensive and labor-intensive process, but overall, the ancient world was far more colorful than most people realize, with buildings like the Parthenon and temples in Egypt originally being brightly colored.
09:01 In ancient times, the original colors of buildings and statues were much more vibrant and varied than what we see today, as the paint and pigments used were difficult to produce and have since faded or been removed.
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