The history and secrets of colours!

History | Colours | 09th September 2021 | Virtual Wire

Colour is a kind of perception that occurs when light reaches the retina of the eye in different ways. If all wavelengths reach the same eye, it is perceived as white, and if no light reaches the same eye, it is perceived as black.

I think that the history and meanings of colours, which cover all areas of society, is one of the most interesting subjects. Because it directs us throughout our lives, affects our lifestyle, psychology and defines our personality. Each colour represents a specific emotion. Colours give us endless freedom to express ourselves the way we want. This forms the basis of colour therapy. Probably, many people did not even know about the existence of colour therapy and colour therapists until now.

Colours have fascinated people for hundreds of thousands of years, but the history of taking this miracle of nature and putting it to our use is much shorter. The first artists presented the first pigments and dyes to humanity about 40,000 years ago. Made using natural materials such as earth, animal fat, coal, lime, the paints revealed a colour palette of 5 colours: red, yellow, brown, black and white.

Since the beginning of history, the variety of colours found in nature has increased rapidly since we started to express ourselves and transfer them to our daily lives and new pigments have been used in countless different areas. The variety of paints and colours, which have been a part of life for tens of thousands of years from cave depictions to the Renaissance, has reached incredible proportions today. This journey started with a modest 5-colour palette and now it is being continued with countless colours and different tones.

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English physicist Newton succeeded in distinguishing colours by passing sunlight through a diamond primate in 1670, and thus colour science was accepted as a science. Howard Sun is the founder of the Living Colour organization. This organization researches colours in 1984. Thinking that every person has a colour that represents their spiritual characteristics and life, Sun has done a lot of research with his wife Dorothy Sun, a colour analysis specialist. These studies also attracted great interest in England.

Earth red is the first colour used as a paint in cave paintings and obtained from soils rich in iron and it is still one of the most preferred tones today. The red colour obtained by the Aztecs by crushing and drying the cochineal insects living on cacti towards the end of the 1400s was used frequently by many different civilizations, and even until the 20th century, the red jackets of the British army were painted red with cochineal insects.

Green, obtained from plant extracts, is one of the oldest colours used by humans as paint after red. In 1775, Swedish chemist Scheele discovered a new brilliant green based on resin and arsenic. Scheele green, which spread rapidly and became popular in the Victorian Era, brought some problems with it. Many artists have suffered from health problems due to arsenic, an extremely toxic chemical. Fortunately, green paints produced using the latest technology today have left their bad reputation behind. We no longer have to worry about health when dealing with paints.

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Although it is the colour of the sea, blue is among the colours that are not very common in nature. The use of blue as the paint is quite new compared to other colours. Blue is not very common in prehistoric cave paintings, ancient Greek records or ancient Chinese stories. However, the ancient Egyptian civilization, which started mining about 6000 years ago and extracted lapis lazuli was the first civilization to use this colour by processing blue into the coffins of mummies. The use of blue became widespread all over the world, especially in the Middle Ages, with the depiction of the Virgin Mary in blue robes in many works.