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Cinema & the Arts as Sermons: Chroma - Ancient Sculptures in Color

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

Video from Art Trip

Chroma - Ancient Sculptures in Color

"In this video, we visit a new exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art titled Chroma: Ancient Sculpture in Color. The show reveals the history of Ancient Greek and Roman sculpture that was once colorful, vibrantly painted, and richly adorned with detailed ornamentation." from video introduction

I grew up with the idea and it wasn't until I got an education in Art Education that I found out the ancient statues and building of civilizations like Rome etc. were painted. They were in fact very colorful. It seems odd this is not mentioned more or perhaps we have become so biased that we don't hear it. These videos give an excellent overview of what we have been missing. - Andy

Ancient Sculptures Reveal their True Colors

Video from CBS Sunday Morning

"Greek and Roman marble antiquities have traditionally been viewed as white, but recent scientific studies have shown that they were often painted with bright colors — a fact little discussed among art historians. Correspondent Martha Teichner explores how an accidental "whitewashing" of history has colored our view of ancient art." from video introduction

The White Lie We've Been Told about Roman Statues

Video from Vox

"The ancient world was actually really colorful.

When you think of the ancient world, you probably picture towering buildings of white marble, adorned with statues also made of white marble. You’re not alone — most people picture the same thing. But we’re all wrong. Ancient buildings and sculptures were actually really colorful. The Greeks and Romans painted their statues to resemble real bodies, and often gilded them so they shone like gods. So why is seemingly every museum on planet earth full of white marble sculptures? It’s partly an honest mistake. After the fall of Rome, ancient sculptures were buried or left out in the open air for hundreds of years. By the time the Renaissance began in the 1300s, their paint had faded away. As a result, the artists unearthing, and copying ancient art didn’t realize how colorful it was supposed to be. But white marble couldn’t have become the norm without some willful ignorance. Even though there was a bunch of evidence that ancient sculpture was painted, artists, art historians and the general public chose to disregard it. Western culture seemed to collectively accept that white marble was simply prettier. Today, art history is more concerned with accuracy than it is with what might look better. So teams of researchers use a combination of art and science to painstakingly create reconstructions of ancient statues, showing us the true colors of classical antiquity. Most of the reconstruction work shown in this video was done by the Polychromy Research Project, led by conservationists Vinzenz Brinkmann and Ulrike Koch-Brinkmann. To see more of their work you can buy their book, “Gods in Color: Polychromy in the Ancient World”" from video introduction

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