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Lascaux, France - Prehistoric Cave Paintings 16,000 B.C.

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Presentation on theme: "Lascaux, France - Prehistoric Cave Paintings 16,000 B.C."— Presentation transcript:

1 Lascaux, France - Prehistoric Cave Paintings 16,000 B.C.

2 Deer – Chauvet, France Cave Paintings 30,000 B.C.

3 rhino – Chauvet, France Cave Paintings

4 leopard - Chauvet Cave Paintings

5 Palette is that of the Earth - Paints are "stones + water” - Yellows, oranges, reds are iron "earths” Fe2O3 (hematite), FeO(OH)·nH2O (limonite) - Greens from clays made of aluminum/silicon /oxygen Al-Si-O - Brown : manganese oxide, Black (charcoal) and White (chalk or bones) MnO2 C CaO and CaCO3

6 Gaius Plinius Secundus, better known as Pliny the Elder, was an author, naturalist, and natural philosopher as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire. Spending most of his spare time studying, writing or investigating natural phenomena in the field, he wrote an encyclopedic work, Naturalis Historia. Greek Four Color Painting (theory attributed to Pliny) A very confusing topic because so little Greek painting survives Conservative color ideas authored by Aristotle, Plato, and others but also by Romans Pliny & Plutarch writing about classical Greek painting. "the noble and restrained palette is the proper choice for all sober-minded painters”

7 Greek Four Color Painting white – black – yellow – red white & black correspond to extremes of light and dark yellow & red correspond to intermediate hues the very colors predominating in cave painting Really? Only 4 colors?

8 c. 540 BC, National Archaeological Museum. One of four paintings on a piece of wood that survived, found in the village Pitsa (inside a cave ?) (Corinth) in the region around Sikyon.

9 Greek Four Color Painting white – black – yellow – red white & black correspond to extremes of light and dark yellow & red correspond to intermediate hues First a matter of Philosophy Greek thought: where the symmetry of ideas was important Four elements (air, fire, water, earth) and Four natures (qualities) (dry, humid (moist), cold, hot) So, naturally, we should have four colors (white, black, yellow, red) They had some strange ideas… Aristotle: all colors are mixtures of lightness and darkness (white and black?) Demokritos: pale green (chloron) can be made from red + white Plato: leek green (prasinon) can be made from “flame” (purron) and black the very colors predominating in cave painting

10 Results Reflects Greek Attitudes Greek preference for theorizing, for abstract thought, for doctrine a distaste for experimentation, for manual skill and craft a aversion to mixing, an idea in classical thought that mixed pigments were impure and inferior to pure pigments made from natural sources "Mixing produces conflict" Plutarch Results Reflect Reality of Limitations of Pigment Materials because of the chemical properties of the ancient pigments, —how they interacted with light (their spectral properties) — mixing them led to neutral, dull hues: mud. Did the Romans’ preoccupation with Greek color ideas affect their palettes?

11 http://www. of_Pompeii_and_Herculaneum/ Did the Romans’ preoccupation with Greek color ideas affect their palettes? Decidedly not, judging by the frescoes uncovered at Pompeii. There are 29 pigments identified in all of the Pompeii paintings.

12 Affresco Casa di Venere in Conchiglia, Pompei

13 As master craftsmen of materials, Egyptians had large palette of pigments And the art and painting of ancient Egyptians?

14 A Block from the Sanctuary in the Temple of Mentuhotep II at Deir el-Bahri, reign of Mentuhotep II, 2010–2000 B.C.

15 Nany's (a woman in her seventies, was a chantress (ritual singer) of the god Amun-Re.) Funerary Papyrus, reign of Psusennes I, ca. 1040–992 B.C..

16 A facsimile produced by the Graphic Section from the MMA's Expedition to Egypt between the years 1907 and 1937. The Museum's artists used tempera paints to reproduce the quality of ancient pigments.

17 A facsimile produced by the Graphic Section from MMA.

18 Egyptian faience sculpture

19 Boat Carrying Captives from Nubia, Tomb of Huy (facsimile), Reignreign of Akhenaten–Tutankhamun, Egypt (Thebes) 1349–1327 B.C.

20 Portrait of the Boy Eutyches, Egypt, Roman Period, 100 AD, Encaustic (wax, etc.) on wood Roman Egypt was an extremely diverse civilization. The population consisted of Roman citizens and citizens of Greek cities such as Alexandria (both of these groups made up of peoples of many different ethnicities) and native Egyptians. Clearly, the Egyptians, in contrast to the Greeks, placed high value of craft and skill. They contributed much to the development of pigments and the art of coloration.

21 The Greek Four Color Problem: is it real ? That they couldn’t perceive or discriminate the range of colors that we can? or is it just a problem of language, of naming? they certainly had access to other pigments (e.g., Egyptian blue frit) speculation is that Greek sensitivity was to effect of color, not so much to hue maybe blue was close to black, as yellow is similar to white sinople used to refer to both green and to red (is actually a red earth from Sinople near the Black Sea) color terminology is NOT universal; some cultures have only 4 color terms “Colors are the product of language under the influence of culture.” John Lyons or is it a problem of perceptual psychology? no different than my yellow ≠ your yellow Color is a hot topic for linguistic study Linguistic anthropologists Berlin and Kay, propose evolution of color terms that follow: ”Color vocabulary unfolds in strict sequence" black/white, then red, then yellow, then green, blue, then the secondary (more random) purple, orange, brown, pink….” Hmmmm, I think I’ll paint that idea…

22 Interface (Sharon Burgmayer, 2002) (at the interface of feeling and thinking, inspired by Mark Lord)

23 Alkmaion: how does the eye see? It sees through the water that surrounds it the ray which transmits the color of an object to the eye is a kind of fire. In any case Demokritos conceived of colors as so many quantities of energy (light), ranging from a pure form of it to a total lack of it (black). Such reasoning comes from a quite different sphere from the idea of colors laid on an artist's palette: colors are not something laid on objects but energy equations of the objects themselves. In fact, Demokritos would deny the existence of artists' colors as such. To complicate matters for us, Anaxagoras - without being an atomist - had the same opinion about the nature of color. the two characteristics of Greek color sensibility appear: * Color is rays of light or fire. * Color reflects the state of the object to which it belongs. GREEK COLOR THEORY AND THE FOUR ELEMENTS A Cosmological Interpretation J. L. Benson Amherst, Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries 2000

24 Greek Four color theory Although the theory of the four elements is well known, the concept of a theory of four colors is virtually unknown, even among many scholars in the ancient field. What is that concept? It refers first of all to a seemingly insoluble problem in the history of Greek painting, arising from references in Pliny the Elder and Cicero, to the use of quattuor colores: black, white, yellow, and red in certain Greek paintings The ancient tradition in regard to a connection between the Four Elements theory and the Four Colors theory - for so it must be called - is not only meager and sketchy but, on the face of it, enigmatic. Yet the parallel positioning of the two concepts, e.g., in Empedokles, Demokritos and Plato, is so noticeable that one cannot really doubt whether the Greeks regarded them as being correlative, but only whether they connected each of the four elements to a particular one of the four colors.


26 Polish kermes lives in the roots of Scleranthus perennis L. Polish kermes are found from eastern Germany to the Ukraine. This shield louse, or scale insect, is a parasite on the roots of Scleranthus perennis. The female insects are collected in June, killed in a vinegar solution, dried, and marketed in this form as the raw material for the dyestuff. From a single plant, 40 to 50 insects can be collected. After they are taken from the roots of the host plant, it is replanted.

27 The Cochineal bug is found in desert locations in Arizona, New Mexico, and California to Montana, Colorado, Texas, Florida and North Carolina. They feed on the juices of the cacti plant, especially the prickly pear cacti.

28 elementscompoundshomogeneousheterogeneous copper, Cu vermilion, red leadblue fritblue frit + ochre Sulfur, S 8 Visualizing the atomic and molecular level

29 elementscompoundshomogeneousheterogeneous copper vermilion blue fritblue frit + ochre Red Lead Pb3O4, or 2PbO·PbO2 Cinnabar (natural mineral) Vermilion (synthetic) HgS

30 elementscompoundshomogeneousheterogeneous copper vermilion, red leadblue fritblue frit + ochre Ochres: a mixture of Iron oxides Iron oxide Hematite, Fe 2 O 3 Iron oxide Magnetite, Fe 3 O 4

31 The blue color of faience is chemically the same ‘stuff’ as the pigment blue frit Egyptian Faience sculpture and beads

32 elementscompoundshomogeneousheterogeneous copper vermilion, red leadblue fritblue frit + ochre blue frit ochre

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