The first tubes of paint appeared around the 18th century. Before then, the artists independently prepared the colors they needed, studying the materials and perfecting the procedures.
In ancient Egypt, the pigments were extracted from minerals such as malachite (verde), the pyrolusite (nero), la dolomite (White), or from lands such as ocher (yellow and red). The pigments were then amalgamated with a binder, such as egg white or gum arabic.
The Egyptians didn't just extract what they found in nature, but they came to produce, more than 5000 Years ago, the first known artificial color: the Egyptian blue!
Blue is a primary color in additive synthesis and also cuprorivaite, a mineral of the copper silicate family, from which it could be obtained, it was scarcely widespread and therefore rare and precious.
The Egyptians discovered that by mixing silica (sand) with malachite and calcium carbonate (limestone), and putting the mixture in the furnace, a new material was artificially obtained, blue in color: a tetrasilicate of copper and calcium. This was used extensively in fresco painting, grave, statue, but also as enamel.
For art historians, the study of the pigments used by ancient civilizations is a tool for dating a work, to verify its authenticity and painting techniques; moreover, all this is useful for establishing the treatments necessary for restoration and conservation.
Few years ago, Egyptian blue has captured the interest of the scientific world for its applications in diagnostic imaging, in remote controls and security inks, as stated in an article published in the scientific journal Journal of the American Chemical Society.
Researchers have found that the copper and calcium silicate of the Egyptian pigment can break down into very thin nanosheets.. These layers generate invisible infrared radiation analogous to the characteristics of the signal that remote control devices do, such as remote controls for the TV or for opening the car, they use to communicate with the devices they command. This discovery paves the way for a new class of nanomaterials.
This is how art meets science and the past meets the future!