August 7, 2012
A temporary exhibition at the New Acropolis Museum in Athens aims to give visitors a better idea of the colours that the sculptures on the Acropolis would originally have been, rather than the pristine while marble that we see today.
Commencing Tuesday 31 July 2012 and for the next twelve months, the Acropolis Museum wants to conduct research on its unique collection of archaic statues, which retain their colors to a small or large degree, and to open a very extensive discussion with the public and various experts on color, its technical issues, its detection using new technologies, its experimental use on marble surfaces, its digital reconstruction, its meaning, as well as the archaic period’s aesthetic perception of color. So far, scientific research into the color found on ancient sculpture has made great progress and reached surprising conclusions that to a large degree refute the stereotypical assumptions regarding ancient sculpture. It turns out that color, far from being just a simple decorative element, added to the sculpture’s aesthetic quality.
For ancient Greeks and their society, color constituted a way to characterize various attributes. The blond hair of the gods projected their power; the brown skin of warriors and athletes was a sign of virtue and valor, while the white skin of the korai expressed the grace and radiance of youth.
The Μuseum’s initiative on Archaic Colors is based on very careful observation, on spectroscopic analysis, on special photography sessions, on efforts to reproduce the colors of antiquity and then to apply them on Parian marble, and naturally, on searching through written sources for valuable information on the pigments.
The statues’ crisp, saturated colors, on bright garments and tender bodies, combined with the rich jewelry, frequently made of metal, and elaborately curled hair created a singular aesthetic pleasure, making the archaic statues “wonderful to behold” for the people of the period.
Brief presentations which focus on “Archaic Colors” are held by Museum archaeologists – hosts, with rich visual material, both in Greek and English.
Family Backpack «Archaic Colors»
On the occasion of the initiative on Archaic Colors, the Museum invites families to discover the archaic colors through the following games:
1. The game of discovering details in archaic statues, where color is preserved.
2. A painting box, which contains original mineral colors and pencils for children to color the Peplos Kore.
3. The DOMINO with some of the designs – in a variety of colors freely selected – that decorated mainly the clothing and earrings of the archaic korai.
Color the Peplos Kore
Visitors also have the opportunity to continue participating in the “Archaic Colors“ initiative from home, through the online digital interactive game “Color the Peplos Kore“. Visitors can use the brush and colors of their choice, color the statue of Peplos Kore and finally print and save their work as many times as they wish and in several variations.
- Caveat emptor when buying looted artefacts : April 4, 2012
- Exhibition of polychromatic Greek sculpture replicas : October 24, 2008
- The New Acropolis Museum as an all day experience : November 28, 2011
- The original colour of the Parthenon Sculptures : February 25, 2006
- How the Parthenon sculptures might have been coloured : September 27, 2007
- Studying the wavy, thick, textured hair sported by the young women of ancient Greece : November 9, 2012
- New Acropolis Museum reveals ancient treasures : January 4, 2007
- The New Acropolis Museum awaits the Parthenon Marbles : October 29, 2008