Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ancient Color

Remember how I kept going on and on and on (and on) about how Greek architecture and sculpture were originally painted? Remember that whole discussion about how our viewing experience of Greek art is completely different than that of the ancient Greeks?

Well, look what I found! A German museum has painted interpretations of several Greek statues (this is just one of their many projects) using UV analysis of traces of paint still clinging to the surface of the marble.

Please read more about this project here.

I realize this is in German, but here you can find more images of several of their projects.

And, go here to see some amazing color! (you really MUST go here)

Click around, see what you can find!

And, if you ever get to Philadelphia, check out the Philadelphia Museum of Art. These sculptures were installed in the pediment in 1932, and relflect the 'theory' that buildings and sculpture in ancient Greece were brightly and lavishly painted.

Comments for this post are due by Monday 10/8.

12 comments:

livefish said...

I'd say Greece would be a very VIBRANT country. I don't enjoy the art the way it was painted but I guess you have to see it how they saw it to know exactly what it looked like to them. I find the bright colors disturbing. Just that I think they look more romantic and graceful with out 'Disney'-like colors. Let's stick to what we see today. :o) But it was pretty cool how they were able to see what colors and patterns were there. Hat's off!

Kaitlin said...

The fact that what we see today is completely different from how it was in ancient Greece is really strange. When I imagine a Greek city I don't imagine it full of vibrant color. I wonder if the color they used may have been a little less garish than what we have found it to be. Maybe the degree of paint would have been more muted. I saw one of the examples of painted art that had a lot of detail and less bright colors and it did look pretty. Gold detailing in SMALL amounts would look nice on the statues if it was done right. I do like them better as simple un-painted stone.

daddytobe58 said...

I agree with livefish. I dont like the fact they recreate all of these priceless paintings or sculptures. I believe that the scupltures and paintings that are the original should remain the one and only. However i do think that it is quite amazing how they recreate them.

charlie said...

Seeing the sculptures painted give me a whole new outlook on how the sculptures would have looked. After seeing the sculptures as they are without any paint, it is hard to imagine them being any different. I think that painting such detaild lifelike sculptures take away from their true beauty. They look so real, as if a human was captured in stone, but when painted the sculptures look almost fake.

artperson said...

Yeah it definitely gives you a different perspective. I think the sculptures are beautiful by themselves. Just seeing the immense amount of stone gives you an idea of how raw and elemental the figure is. I mean, could you imagine carving a 6'tall human figure with that much detail? I'm sure it took a lot of time. What if you broke a finger off in the process? I'm pretty sure they didn't have crazy glue back then.

exquisitedesign said...

It seems hard to believe that those statues were painted with such vibrant colors. The way they appear to us today seems more appealing and shows more of a classical representation of their culture and arts. I just don't believe they would use such color pallets as shown, when most of the paintings from that era use more drab, muted colors. It is kind of neat to see a different outlook on it though.

retroclide said...

I actually love that the sculptures looked so tacky. I think it's pretty damn funny. For centuries we've only seen the stone; we had no idea what these sculptures looked like. Now that we have a better idea, I think it's interesting just how un-stately and majectic that they looked. Even though most of the sculptures must have looked like something at a New Jersey yard sale, I find it remarkable that they made the paints. It's no easy task to make paint.

jpayne said...

Many of the sculptures we see today are so beautiful already, that its hard to imagine them with color and being even more amazing. I think some of the statues and buildings would have looked great with all the bright colors and it would have given them more personality and made them more interesting, but then again there are some that i cant imagine having color to them. I think some of them would have looked better to be left without color (like we see them today) to make them look more natual. Its pretty I guess but I personally like them without the color!

aydin1107 said...

I can't believe how overly colored these sculptures and buildings were. It seems so over the top like someplace Willy Wonka and his Oompa Loompa's would live. I mean today when you see houses painted these kinds of vibrant colors like bright pinks, purples, or blues, you might think it a little strange. Well, that is compared to the norm like gray, tan, and white. But that just shows how much things have changed since back then from one perspective.

Marc said...

It is a shame every impression we get from these works is colorless. What the artist is trying to convey can be lost, especially in many of the early Greek work that seem expressionless. Though, given the interpretations that were linked in this post I think they actually make the pieces worse. I personally find the rendering from these artists too garish.

Luis said...

I have to admit is nice to see this figures painted, I remember I used to think that ancient Greeks were color blind and that was the reason why all marble figures where with no color XD, well is quite interesting to see this vibrant colors although I have to admit is different now that we have always seen this sculptures and paintings in almost complete white, somehow the color takes away some spirit in the sculptures, in plain white they give a feeling of more beauty.

bigbadteacher said...

this post has been graded