Around 1600 B.C., paint-making was an art that became widely established in Crete
Phoenicia (which means “land of the purple” in Greek) was the center of the ancient purple dye industry, where “Tyrian Purple” was widely made. In Rome, a similar purple produced from the mucous of marine mollusks, required crushing four million of the creatures to yield just one pound of dye. Due to its great expense, this purple quickly became associated with royalty.
purple mollusk shells
Around 1600 B.C., paint-making was an art that became widely established in Crete and Greece.
In ancient Egypt, color was highly regarded. Early Egyptians formulated paint from ground glass, semi precious stones, lead, earth, iron oxides and animal fats.
In everything from color-targeted healing rooms and artwork to body painting and tombs, the early Egyptians made full use of the colors available at the time: green malachite, red ochre, chalk white, charcoal black, yellow ochre and Egyptian blue (made from iron, copper oxide, silica and calcium).
Early Egyptian Painting
Some 40,000 years ago, more recent cave dwellers in Europe painted walls with ochre(golden-yellow or light yellow brown), hematite (metallic gray to dark red), manganese oxide (pink-brown, black, dark red or dark green), and charcoal (black).
These early painters even developed an airbrush technique; by blowing through hollow bones, they were able to achieve a finely grained distribution of pigment.
European Cave Paintings