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The painted Parthenon sculptures

Waldemar Januszczak has commented in the past [1] on the controversial cleaning of the Elgin Marbles by the British Museum in the 1930s. Here he looks at how seeing the original coloured versions of the sculptures as they first appeared would help to give us a greater understanding of their origins.

The Times [2]

From The Sunday Times
August 31, 2008
Waldemar Januszczak’s Sculpture Diaries
Waldemar Januszczak


Since sculpture has never had a Dark Age — and has never not been made — and because every society everywhere has always produced it, the BM has no more chance of covering the entire history of sculpture in its displays than I have in my short television series. But it has a go. Personally, I would love the museum to mount a display devoted to the colour of ancient sculpture that revealed how the Elgin Marbles were originally brightly painted. If the Elgin Marbles were as they should be, it would be so much easier to recognise the similarity that exists between them and, say, the African tribal sculpture from which they were descended.