The blue of the ancient greek world:
The earliest blue in the ancient greek world has been found in pigment lumps within Cycladic vessels- it was perhaps used both as a cosmetic and a pigment for painting sculptures and murals. Later on the Minoans and the Mycenaeans imported lapis lazuli from modern day Afghanistan, as well as blue faience objects from Egypt. Later on the Mycenaeans finding lapis lazuli too expensive developed their own blue-mainly for the production of blue glass- known as “κυανή” (cyane).
Sometimes I come across some terrible misunderstandings about ancient greek art- and life in general- being parrotted not by social media users in their teens and tweens, but primarily by respectable institutions. One of those, some years ago, was that the ancient greeks did not have any notable production of significant wooden objects- they had astounding furniture and sculpture btw, it’s just the climate that doesn’t favour their survival.
The most recent such misunderstanding is the dismissive one-liner in this BBC documentary about how ancient greeks did not have the color blue in their art, because they did not have it in their vocabulary (not the only mistake in this documentary). Actually, they had the color blue practically everywhere, blue is in fact omnipresent in art within greek space from the neolithic era to today. And it’s an integral color to the palette of the ancient greek world.
After all the greek world is always surrounded by the clear sky and the ever moving sea, how could blue not be in its collective mind.