The Color Green — History, Meaning and Facts

Green is the color of life, reflected in nature as a sign of renewal. As a bright, positive color, green has many cultural meanings in religion and art. Read on for more history, meanings and facts about this hue.

Facts About the Color Green

Here are some facts about the color green:

  • The name “green” is related to the Old English word “grene,” the term for the color of living plants.
  • Historians think that Napoleon Bonaparte died because of Scheele’s Green. This toxic pigment was in his green bedroom wallpaper.
  • Since green evokes calmness and serenity, architects and designers often implement the color in environments like hospitals.
  • In the Elizabethan era, green was a common color for wedding gowns for brides in the lower and middle classes.

The History of the Color Green

Green has been used in art since the time of the Ancient Egyptians. They used green earth and malachite, while the Ancient Greeks used verdigris. Green had a resurgence in art during the Impressionist movement due to advancements in green pigments and paints. The bold emerald green became popular in fashion in the 1800s, used for gloves and dresses.

Understanding the Meaning of the Color Green

Green is associated with nature since it is the color of chlorophyll, a pigment in plants. Because of this connection, green is used for environmental activism — products and actions that protect the environment are “green,” and people with a talent for growing plants have a “green thumb.”

In Ancient Egypt, green was a symbol of rebirth and regeneration. Green is sacred in Islam as it is connected to the Prophet Muhammad.

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Green also has some negative connotations. Medieval art and literature depicted the devil in green because it was perceived as a pleasant color that attracted animals. A jealous person is sometimes described as “green with envy.”

The Psychology of the Color Green

As a combination of yellow’s optimism and blue’s calmness, green is a positive color. Green evokes feelings like revival, freshness, vitality and peace due to its connection to nature. Green aids in relaxation, as environments with green elements are peaceful and nurturing. Some studies suggest that green improves concentration as well.

How Is Green Dye Made?

Compared to other colors, green pigments for creating dye have been challenging to identify. The Ancient Egyptians used malachite, which was costly and turned black. Scheele’s Green, invented in 1775, and Paris Green from the end of the 19th century were both hues of green made with toxic chemicals. Those exposed to these pigments could become ill or die.

Today, there are many ways to create green dye using natural sources like the following:

  • Matcha
  • Foxglove
  • Queen Anne’s lace
  • Mint
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Artichoke
  • Grass
  • Lily of the valley

Measuring the Color Green

The perception of green occurs with light at wavelengths between 520 and 570 nanometers. A spectrophotometer is a tool that takes measurements of a color sample like green by breaking the light beam into its wavelength components. This information can be used to determine the quality of the color and to make process improvements if necessary.

Learn More at HunterLab Today

Order a spectrophotometer from HunterLab or learn more about color consistency today by contacting our team online.