Rare blue pigment discovered in paintings from the Roman period of Egypt

Rare blue pigment discovered in paintings from the Roman period of Egypt


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According to Egyptian beliefs, blue was the color of the skies and also of the universe, being related to water and the Nile, that is why they were so fond of it and even created what is considered one of the first artificial pigments known to the world. man and called Egyptian Blue in his honor.

It is stated that was created about 5,000 years ago after heating up to approximately 950 degrees, a mixture containing copper mineral, soda or potash, silica sand or calcium among others, obtaining a pigment that was only reserved for the most exquisite works of art

A group of scientists has discovered traces of a rather strange pigment in the lower layers of funerary portraits that had been painted in muted colors, something that will help to better understand how pigments were used by artists of the 2nd century AD.

They are approximately about 15 funerary portraits dating back to Egypt's Roman times and that they had remained intact for the last 100 years. Now, a group of scientists and different specialists from Northwestern University and the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, both in the United States, have dusted off these paintings and begun to investigate them.

The origin of these pieces goes back to an excavation in what was then known as Tebtunis, today Umm el-Breigat, in the Fayum region. In this find, 11 funerary portraits and 4 fragments of paintings were found that are preserved in the Hearst Museum of the University of California, in the town of Berkeley.

Regarding funeral portraits, it can be said that they are very fragile, realistic and they faithfully represent certain people. These kinds of paintings were superimposed on the bandages and placed on the face of the deceased.

It is therefore a unusual art style, but it appeared in Egypt around the 1st century AD. and for the next two centuries it was very popular and widely performed, especially to wealthier people, nobles, priests and other high dignitaries.

In the research carried out, it was discovered that among the materials that had been used to make these paintings the Egyptian Blue stood out, which is a revelation since it had to be manufactured, so it should only be used for works of art or very valuable goods.

After studying History at the University and after many previous tests, Red Historia was born, a project that emerged as a means of dissemination where you can find the most important news of archeology, history and humanities, as well as articles of interest, curiosities and much more. In short, a meeting point for everyone where they can share information and continue learning.


Video: A story of blue


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