Sunday, September 30, 2007

The white myth.

My west coast stringer sends me this east coast lead. The Sackler Museum in DC has opened and interesting exhibition entitled "Gods in Color: Painted Sculpture of Classical Antiquity." I have often heard that classical architecture and sculpture was vividly painted and breathtaking. Finally, two scholars have managed through UV light technology to recreate some of those classic pieces in their original colors. The sculpture of character Paris above is pretty dazzling. No?

"The sculpture and architecture of the ancient world was, in fact, brightly and elaborately painted. The only reason it appears white to us is that centuries of weathering have worn off most of the paint.

So entrenched has the association become between classical art and the look of white, unblemished marble, that the idea of an Athenian acropolis as colorfully painted as a circus wagon is difficult to imagine if not downright blasphemous. But now an exhibition at the Sackler Museum can help us envision what a color-drenched classical world might have looked like."

I think we moderns are going to look, by comparison, rather drab. The exhibition is opened until January 20, 2008. Go forth, colorfully.

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