The Vibrant Colors of Ancient Statuary



The examples of ancient Greco-Roman statuary that survive to this day may be bare stone and earthenware, but archaeologist Vinzenz Brinkmann argues that they were originally brightly painted:

Armed with high-intensity lamps, ultraviolet light, cameras, plaster casts and jars of costly powdered minerals, he has spent the past quarter century trying to revive the peacock glory that was Greece. He has dramatized his scholarly findings by creating full-scale plaster or marble copies hand-painted in the same mineral and organic pigments used by the ancients: green from malachite, blue from azurite, yellow and ocher from arsenic compounds, red from cinnabar, black from burned bone and vine.

Call them gaudy, call them garish, his scrupulous color reconstructions made their debut in 2003 at the Glyptothek museum in Munich, which is devoted to Greek and Roman statuary. Displayed side by side with the placid antiquities of that fabled collection, the replicas shocked and dazzled those who came to see them. As Time magazine summed up the response, "The exhibition forces you to look at ancient sculpture in a totally new way."


Link via io9 | Images: Stiftung Archaeologie

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Yes prlo - Residue is found and when you take a look at these statues with infrared and other wavelengths and when you put them under microscopes and when you go at them with chemical tests, you find these pigments.

When I was a kid, I had the notion that back before I existed, and the further you went back in time the world didn't have colour- Hey most of the photographs from the '60's and before were in black and white, so ... right?
The paintings and interpretations of artists like Alma Tadema were a true revelation to me.

Now to see these statues all reconstructed even with colours (I saw the exibition- just blow me away. Greeks were not only the esthetic God-Makers we think them to be when we see their majestic marble-white statues- They were humans in a lively world that made colorful bold statues that reflected the world they lived in.

And I love that.
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I probably like the plain look because that is how we have always seen these statues, but I feel like the colour takes away something. I like to admire the craftsmanship of statues and sculpture. The colour makes them look gaudy, and kind of cheap.
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Are the patterns found by looking at pigment residue on the statues? those leggings look very psychadelic
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_Eiwce13X738/SHnOrQCiKRI/AAAAAAAADNw/g45CB8mUG08/s1600/BrinkmannStatue.jpg
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