According to one Western legend, the first paint was black and the first artist was female (As told by Pliny the Elder).
A young woman of Corinth in Greece was saying good-bye to her lover before he left on a long journey. Suddenly, between embraces, she noticed his shadow on the wall, cast by candlelight. She reached out for a piece of charcoal from the fire and filled in the pattern of his shadow.
The first artworks discovered in the caves at Lascaux, Altamera and Chauvet were all "painted" with charcoal. They then made vivid black pigments by burning bones or grinding a powder of manganese oxide.
For the ancient Egyptians, black had very positive associations. It was the color of the rich black soil flooded by the Nile. It was the color of Anubis, the god of the underworld, who took the form of a black jackal, and offered protection against evil to the dead.
The German and Scandinavian peoples worshiped their goddess of the night, Nott, who crossed the sky in a chariot drawn by a black horse. They also considered the crow to be sacred.