Color: The Perception of an Image
Filiz Yenişehirlioğlu

The desire of humans to dominate nature and life by representing their environments in images is a phenomenon that has continued since the cave period. This process which can also be discussed within the scope of cultural anthropology constitutes one of the main goals of research in the history of art. While forms recreated as fantasies of reality reflect stories and ideals, the perception of color accompanies the visual rhetoric sought to be relayed. This phenomenon and process which began by imitating nature differentiates in accordance with contemporary technologies and sometimes becomes a symbol and sometimes a light and an aesthetic pleasure. The perception of image emerges with the union of form and color. This perception and design features in the use of color that change in accordance with the structures of societies and value systems define different periods and cultural properties.

Miltos, Sinopis and Sinopia over the Centuries
Dominique Kassab Tezgör

Sinope was a prosperous city in the Antiquity. One of the reasons for its prosperity was its exceptional position on peninsula projecting into the Black Sea coast, providing two safe harbors, allowing it to operate as an active commercial centre. The famous red ochre used in Graeco-Roman artworks, was extracted in Cappadocia and traded from Sinope, and for that reason was called the “miltos sinopensis” or “pontic sinopis”, in other words the ‘red earth of Sinope’. As it is, the evidence suggests it ceased to be exported from about the end of the third century AD, although it continued to be used locally for art works. In Cappadocia itself, for example, it was used extensively in the frescoes of the regional Byzantine churches, for example the Kızıl Kilise and many others, and later on the facades of the dovecotes. Yet such was the fame of this material that while it was no longer being exported from Sinope, the name sinopis, or later on sinopia, was subsequently given to all forms of high-quality red ochre but of quite different origins. Hence in the Renaissance, the red outlines made on frescoes before painting were called “sinopia”, the term still being current today. As for the original miltos sinopensis, we can now identify this pigment as the material locally known as “yoşa”, a substance today mainly used by the potters of Avanos. And as such, it will also be the main medium and source of inspiration of the students and artists for their art works displayed in the exhibitions during the Symposium.

Dyes and Dead Bodies in Early Neolithic People
Yılmaz Selim Erdal

The use of red, white, black, and yellow dyes by humans serves various purposes and has an ancient history. However, the symbolic connection between paint and humans appears to have taken on additional dimensions and meanings, particularly during the Neolithic period. In many settlements during the Early Neolithic peirod, it is known that pigments were used for various reasons. Yet, the most remarkable among these uses is the painting of the deceased.

This study examines the paints applied to the deceased during the Neolithic period through the example of the early Neolithic settlement at Körtik Tepe. In Körtik Tepe, it has been observed that nearly half of the skeletons were covered with white plaster layers and red and black dyes. The analysis of plaster and paint residues focused on the application method and distribution on the body, revealing that the application was made directly to the bones, but through an object resembling loosely woven fabric. It was also determined that this application was periodically repeated after the decomposition process was completed following burial. It is suggested that this application has a symbolic relationship with the dilemma between life and death. The dyes serve as a means to facilitate the transition from the world we live in to the eternal life in the afterlife, contributing to the deceased’s clean reunion with their ancestors.

Blue and Green at Çatalhöyük: Why not used on Wall Paintings?
Duygu Çamurcuoğlu and Ruth Siddall

The world heritage site of Çatalhöyük (c.7400 BC) is a renowned Neolithic site in central Anatolia, Turkey.
It was first excavated in the early 1960s by James Mellaart and became internationally famous due to its
well-preserved mudbrick architecture, elaborate wall paintings and relief sculptures. The recent excavation
project led by Prof. Ian Hodder has now completed (1993-2017) and the studies show that people of
Çatalhöyük were highly aware of their natural environment and knew how to skillfully modify their
resources to develop various material technologies according to their needs.

One of the most important material technologies at Çatalhöyük is the use of colour in order to create a
variety of designs on the wall paintings. The research shows that the basic Prehistoric palette, mainly
consisting of mineral based pigments (i.e. haematite, goethite and cinnabar), was used and easily available
around the site. Carbon (bone) black was obtained by charring/grinding bones and the calcium carbonate rich
marl has provided the white background. However, the people of Çatalhöyük were also aware of two ‘very
important’ colours which were not seen before within the Neolithic context. Green and blue pigment lumps
were often found in burials as grave goods but interestingly no evidence was ever discovered on the wall

Analytical study revealed that they were copper based green malachite (Cu 2 (CO 3 )(OH) 2 ) and blue azurite
(Cu 3 (CO 3 ) 2 (OH) 2 ), and this was the first use of these minerals in pigment form in the Anatolia and Near East. Very bright coloured, angular and subangular particles under Optical microscopy and RAMAN spectroscopy showed that the pigments were ground finely by hand to eliminate any impurities to achieve brighter tones. The fact that people knew how to modify these minerals for a specific use suggests that they understood the significance between different colours and the decision of not using them on wall paintings may have been a deliberate one, such as social, ritual and/or practical.

This talk, which is based on the author’s PhD research on the technology of the Çatalhöyük wall paintings,
will aim to investigate the reasons of not applying these unique colours on the walls, including their
interaction with other pigments and wall plaster materials.

Red Textiles and Dyes in Cuneiform Sources
from the Third to the First Millennium BCE
Cécile Michel, Philippe Abrahami, Nicole Brisch and Louise Quillien

As part of the international research group Ancient Textiles from the Orient to the Mediterranean (ATOM, 2015-2018, coordinated by C. Michel), researchers working in France and Denmark organised an international conference in 2016, Dyes and spices, focusing on the data in ancient texts relating to colour terminology, dye products and techniques for testing hypotheses by conducting experiments under the conditions of the ancient civilisations studied. A short film (Dyes & Spices) shot during the conference shows how experiments can help us to better understand ancient texts. 

As the method proved conclusive, a group of four Assyriologists covering the different corpus of cuneiform documentation, Nicole Brisch (3rd millennium), Cécile Michel (first half of 2nd millennium), Philippe Abrahami (second half of 2nd millennium) and Louise Quillien (1st millennium) decided to continue this research by preparing a book on red textiles, red dyes and dye recipes in cuneiform sources. At the same time, we conducted experiments with natural dyes in a dye garden planted for the occasion by colleagues in Ardèche, in Southeastern France. This presentation will summarise the terminological study and the results obtained during the experiments.

Which Colours for which Purposes? Selection and Applications of Pigments in Ancient Greek Painting
Hariclia Brekoulaki

Greek painters seem to have gained control over the properties of their materials, exploiting them according to their needs. A variety of inorganic pigments and organic colourants served different purposes, applied in pure layers, in mixtures, as top surface layers or underlayers. This paper discusses the choice of specific pigments that painters used for the creation of realistic effects in the rendering of figural elements in late Classical and Hellenistic paintings, highlighting the key role of certain materials, such as iron-based ochres, cinnabar, Egyptian blue, natural green copper pigments and organic lakes.

Small is beautiful. Painters at work on Greek Terracotta Figurines
B. Bourgeois, V. Jeammet and Y. Vandenberghe

It is a well-known fact that Greek terracotta figurines, produced by the thousands from the Archaic down to the early Roman period, were colorful objects. Once fired, the clay support was painted with various pigments and colorants; metallic highlights of gold and tin leaves added a touch of prestige and luxury on higher-quality pieces. However the proper pictorial value and meaning of this polychrome embellishment has been greatly underestimated by modern scholarship.

Interdisciplinary researches carried out at the C2RMF on a large corpus of the Louvre collection (“Pilina project”) reveal new aspects of the skills and care devoted to the arts and crafts of color in workshops of Mainland Greece (Athens, Boeotia, Corinth) and Aegean coast (Myrina, Smyrna). Combining archaeological and stylistic data with the scientific study of ancient materials (multi-scale and multi-spectral imaging, non-invasive and sample analyses), we now grasp a new vision of the objects. It becomes obvious that for at least part of the production painters were at work – painters aiming at adorning a supposedly humble offering with the beauty of a small agalma. They mastered an art of micrographia (miniature painting) and used color materials and techniques which hint at the existence of interconnected crafts between coroplastic and marble sculpture as well as wall-painting. Thus the value and function of terracotta figurines have to be reevaluated according to these new results.

The Colors of Imperial Power in Late Roman Anatolia
Tuna Şare Ağtürk

The increasing use of symbolism and color-coding, including opulent imperial purples and glittering golds, stands out as prominent features of the Late Antique court. These characteristics are well-documented in both literary sources and various forms of art. Recent studies on ancient polychromy, however, have revealed that colors already played a significant role in conveying meaning in Roman imperial art and architecture. Thus, color, whether in the form of paint, metalwork, or colored marbles, was integral to the message conveyed by Roman imperial art and propaganda. This study, through the case of Nicomedia reliefs, which originally decorated the Aula of emperor Diocletian’s court in Nicomedia, introduces a fresh iconographical and scientific approach to sculptural polychromy, shedding light on the use of color-coding in the Late Roman Period’s imperial art.  It also addresses several scholarly questions related to ancient polychromy, particularly in sculpture: To what extent do traditional stylistic approaches to imperial sculpture, which often overlook its colored painting, obscure the original meaning? How did polychromy enhance the legibility and meaning of imperial art? What was the dynamic relationship between painters, architects, and sculptors in the Roman World?

From Hallucinogens to Hazards –The Lycurgus Cup and the Long Deep History of Metals as Coloring Agents
Thomas Zimmermann

This contribution aims to explore the deep history of metals not only used for coloring surfaces and objects, but also alloying agents used consciously for color alterations. Starting with metal-based color use in the Late Pleistocene, this paper will discuss attempts to change and manipulate the desired hue of an object in Later Prehistory, also including allegedly “faked” artefacts from the 2nd millennium BC and later periods. The famed Lycurgus cup would mark the apogee of ancient glass manufacturing using metal particles to achieve the desired coloring effect. That aside, potential hazardous effect caused by certain approaches to metal-based coloring will also be subject to debate.

Red Ochre in Cappadocia: from Technical to Decorative Uses
Anaïs Lamesa

My paper aims to introduce uses of red ochre in Cappadocia from Hellenistic to Ottoman periods and raises some questions.

Cappadocia is located in Central Anatolia, Turkey. It is a well-known area but it was only recently that the Turkish government gave it administrative status (2019, law 7174). Before this recognition, some part of the region was designated as a UNESCO site (1985). It is covered by a Neogene stone, very soft, allowing its inhabitants to carve structures inside it.

Its history is quite complex. Several kingdoms and empires were established in it and its borders changed several times. However, these kingdoms and empires left rock-cut structures as their presence’s marks, with typical patterns helping researchers to date them. Monumental tombs, churches, monumental dovecotes create a dense mesh on Cappadocian territory.

From at least the Hellenistic period, red ochre in this region was quite used, especially to draw patterns or to write inscriptions. Nowadays, a lot of examples are still visible. The tradition was continued until the ottoman period where patterns were painted on dovecotes façades. 

But red patterns in Cappadocia raise points. Indeed, during the Byzantine times for instance, these patterns are hard to understand since they were usually covered by frescoes inside churches and remained hidden for the Christian communities who were using these worship places. 

One could hypothesize that these patterns, even they are representing animals or geometric motifs, were used by stoneworkers during the rock-cut worksite of a church. Indeed, some patterns are just lines and seem to guide the workers when they were digging, other more complex might be first layers of decoration and were not meant to be seen.

The Medieval Rupestrian Painting of the Mappa Mundi
of St Pedro of Rocas (Galicia, Spain)
Artistic Materials, Pictoral Techniques, Color and Meanings
Jorge Lopez Quiroga and Natalia Figueiras

In the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula (province of Ourense), in a vast territory (which experienced an important monastic presence between the 10th and 12th centuries), known as Ribeira Sacra, is the rupestrian complex of St. Pedro of Rocas, whose origins date back to the second half of the 6th century. This monastery located on Mount Barbeirón, in an extension of 40ha, is integrated into the natural landscape, undergoing important construction modifications between the 6th and 19th centuries. Inside, in a chapel of the complex, we find the mural painting of the mappa mundi, a work of great historical, artistic and archaeological value. A mural painting that was ordered to be executed between the end of the 11th century and the first years of the 12th century, in a central place of the left paraecclesia of the workship area.

This Romanesque mural painting follows the representation models of the early medieval mappae mundi of the books known as Beatus, mostly in handwritten codices, where the entire known world is represented, in a map structure in TO (Orbis Terrarum). More than a physical representation of reality, we are witnessing a theological conceptualization of the world in the Middle Ages, made up of Asia, Africa (Libya), Europe and the unknown world.

The mappa mundi of St Pedro of Rocas has as its center the city of Jerusalem, represented through the first temple of Solomon, which houses in its interior the dextera domini or right hand of God, showing a theocentric program around which the diaspora revolves. apostolic and all the places, cities and geographical elements represented. Its high symbolic and theological charge is strongly related to the type of monastery in which it is located, as well as due to the oriental origin of the monks who inhabit it.

 The mural painting is carried out at a crucial moment in the history of St Pedro of Rocas, a phase of transition and coexistence between the cenobitic community of Benedictine monks (from the 11th century) and the ancient community of hermits installed there since the second half of the 6th century.
It is in this context, in relation to the funerary chapel in which it is found, that the presence of this mural painting is explained, which shows the symbiosis between the survival of the Eastern and Byzantine traditions (linked to the origins of St Pedro of Rocas) and the introduction of a new formal, material and symbolic language of Western Romanesque in the north of the Iberian Peninsula; that is, between East and West. The mural painting is executed, moreover, in full Gregorian reform, in a context of recovery of primitive Christianity, the Gospel and the apostolic model (expressed through the apostolic diaspora that structures the map).

Within the framework of the Petra Sacra research project (on the rupestrian monastery of St Pedro of Rocas) we have carried out the study of the pictorial techniques used in this mural painting, the artistic procedures, its materials, including lime-based mortars, pigments and colors, phases of execution, the iconographic repertoire, the meanings and symbolisms, the functionality of the work and the reason for its realization. It is the only mural painting in the complex and a unique example in world cartography, on a wall.

We are before a mappa mundi done in fresco mural painting, with dry touches, fully resolved in a very succinct color palette, with an intentional color structure, based on red, white and black earth colors. Different executing hands and a clear composition stratigraphy can be appreciated: preparation, previous drawing, sinopia, pictorial film and dry touches. In the same way, the presence of an itinerant workshop that makes the painting from a previous model is identified. Although it has a figurative character in the representation of the apostles and the architectural building, its visual language is of a schematic tendency, with a leading role of formal abstraction, as we observe in the representation of the seas, islands, mountains, the unknown world, the border and the spatial structure of the map.

This research, still in progress, aims to answer a series of questions: Why the predominant use of white and red colors as an element of representation of the world in the Middle Ages? What relationship is established between the technical and formal dimension of painting and its meanings – symbols? Why a mural painting of the oriental and Byzantine tradition in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula, in the midst of the implementation of the Gregorian reform? Why a mappa mundi in a funerary chapel? Why the apostolic diaspora in San Pedro de Rocas? How was the Rocas mappa mundi made?

Finally, we must add that in the mural painting of St Pedro of Rocas we identify a predominant immateriality, as well as an eschatological, funerary, thaumaturgical, cultic and pedagogical functionality.

The Drawing on the Wall. The Sinopias of the Pisan Cemetery
Umberto Brogi

The Sinopias of the Campo Santo Monumentale in Pisa constitute a unique monument of its kind, they are the first large-scale translation of the artist’s idea. After the war, the discovery of the rapid red signs, repeated, modified and elaborated on the wall – made not to be seen, because they were destined to remain covered by the fresco painting – constitutes a unique testimony of its kind and makes it an exemplary case to represent the theme of this conference, dedicated to the use of the red earth of the Sinopias.

Identification of Tiles Via Color
Gülsu Şimşek Franci

The choice of ceramic paints requires not only a personal taste but also knowledge of ceramic technology. An ancient ceramic may be the most complex material due to its many layers (body, slip, decor, glaze, and sometimes overglaze metallic decoration). The colors used in the decors form the signature of the potter or workshop. Ottoman tiles are among the most appreciated ceramic masterpieces in the world. During the Ottoman period, the main production centers existed in Iznik, Kütahya, Tekfur, and Çanakkale. Each workshop has created its own aesthetic and technical characteristics. For example, some decoration colors were particularly identical to the production center. The yellow color, which represents the production of Kütahya potteries and tiles, does not exist in the underglaze decors of Iznik ceramics. Only one sherd with a yellow-colored glaze, usually evidenced in the earlier period of Ottoman tiles (14th-15th centuries) found in Bursa and Edirne mosques, was unearthed in the 1980s in Iznik. 

The traditional colors encountered in the Iznik productions are red, turquoise, green, and blue, having different hues—black, blue, and rarely brown colors evidenced in the contours. In Iznik, we unearthed ceramic palettes decorated with different colors marked with thicker and thinner brush strokes. Some colors are diffused and mixed with the other ones. Some sherds are double-sided glazed, and the others are single-sided. The idea is to understand the technological differences arising from different hues and lightness/darkness of the colors. Non-destructive, fast, and portable techniques such as XRF and Raman spectrometer allow us a systematic and statistical study of a larger series of samples to define the composition and molecular structure of the ceramic paint materials used in the decors. The statistical evaluation of the data shed light on determining the provenance and production period.

Red and White in Architectural Context
Sibel Ertez Ural

In architecture, color is a design element. In the context of architecture, color is associated with aesthetics and function. Formal features of composition components such as balance, proportion, scale and symbolic features such as meaning, connotation and emotion have strong relationships with the color element. Additionally, functional aspects of color in architecture are explained in relation to perception, cognition and behavior.

Red and white are two basic colors with very strong symbolic and formal characters. Throughout the history of architecture, these two colors have been widely used for emphasizing different styles and different approaches. Today, we see that it is frequently used both in interior spaces and in buildings and building groups.

The purpose of the paper, which focuses on these colors, which have a special meaning for our society since they are also the colors of the Turkish flag, is to discuss red and white in the context of architecture. Within the scope of the paper, colors will be examined in terms of their formal and symbolic properties, and the relationships we establish with these colors in surface, form and space will be examined with examples from the field of architecture.