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Color theory: why the color blue was discovered late

Let's imagine if GEOlino already existed in antiquity. Then we would hardly have gotten this picture. In those days, blue was still a rare and expensive color

The history of color

An ink box without blue? You'd be sure to bring it back to the store! How should one paint the sea or a smurf? In fact, blue was rarely used in the past, compared to red, black, and white.

It is true that the ancient Egyptians artificially produced the dye "Egyptian blue" around 4500 years ago or used ground lapis lazuli, a blue mineral that had been brought from afar.

But both were time-consuming and expensive. This is probably one of the reasons why the ancient Greeks and Romans used the color cautiously. Apparently they didn't even have a fixed word for blue, but used many different expressions to describe it.

Church and nobility adorn themselves

Even in the early Middle Ages, poets mostly described the sky as white, red, or gold, but never as blue. In the 12th century, however, the mighty church discovered the color for itself. Glassmakers created church windows out of blue glass, artists painted the Virgin Mary on their pictures in blue clothes. Kings began to dress in blue, and so did their courtiers.

Soon the color was so popular with drapers and dyers that the so-called woad was grown en masse all over Europe. With a little effort, blue-coloring indigo could be obtained from this plant: the dyers threw ground and then dried leaves into a vat and, ahem: peed on them. Together with potash, the urine dissolved the dye from the leaf material in a fermentation process. After three days you could finally dye fabrics in this broth.

Presumably, the expression "blue to blue" for lazing around and waiting comes from this time. Incidentally, the fabrics were still colored yellow when they were pulled out. It was only during the drying process that the oxygen in the air created the typical blue color.

From the 17th century onwards, European dyers preferred to buy indigo more cheaply in East India. At the end of the 19th century, chemists even managed to produce the dye artificially, and other dyes followed.

The most common favorite color? Blue!

According to surveys, blue has consistently been the favorite color of more than half of adults in Europe and the USA for around 100 years! For comparison: Almost 20 percent prefer green, eight percent each white or red. Blue in all shades is therefore probably the most frequently worn fashion color - and "blue jeans" the best-selling item of clothing.

International organizations also like to adorn themselves with the color blue: on the flag of the European Union (EU), the blue background is a symbol for the sky. The United Nations (UN) also has a blue flag. Among other things, the color symbolizes peace.

Researchers have even found that shades of blue promote focus and creativity. Hence our tip: Before doing your homework, just immerse yourself in the blue one
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