When was the first painting made?

The earliest artists to do drawings and paintings were the caveman. Colored drawings of animals, dating from about 30,000 to 10,000 b.c., have been found on the walls of caves in southern France and Spain. Many of these drawings are amazingly well preserved because the caves were sealed up for many cen­turies. The early man drew the wild animals that he saw all around him.

The cave artists filled the cave walls with drawings in rich, bright colors. Some of the most beautiful paintings are in the Cave of Lascaux in France. The pigments used by cave painters were earth ochers (iron oxides varying in color from light yellow to deep orange) and manganese (a metallic element).

These were crushed into a fine powder, mixed with grease (perhaps animal fat), and put on with some sort of brush.'Sometimes the pigments were used in sticks, like crayons. The grease mixed with the powdered pigments made the paint fluid and the pigments' particles stick together. The cavemen must have made brushes out of animal hairs or plants.

As far back as 30,000 years ago, the man had invented the basic tools and mate­rials for painting. Techniques and materials were refined and improved in the centuries following, but the discoveries of the caveman remain basic to painting.

One of the first civilizations was developed in Egypt, about 5,000 years ago. The Egyptians developed their own techniques of painting. In one method watercolor paint was put on mud-plaster or limestone walls. The dry climate of the region has helped preserve some of the watercolor paintings from being destroyed.