Thursday, January 11, 2024

Tracking Color : Polychromy of the ancient world

White marble has generally been considered a typical image of antiquity. However, the lack of colour has no relation to ancient aesthetics. In fact, antiquity cultivated a veritable wealth of colours, but after centuries of deterioration, very little paint remains on the artefacts giving rise to the mistaken notion of white marble as a classical ideal.

Yet the knowledge that ancient art was polychrome does not mark the end of polychromy research. On the contrary: Now research of ancient polychromy can continue acquiring a more comprehensive and detailed knowledge of how the ancient world was coloured and why.

This website is dedicated to the research on the use of colour on sculptures and buildings in the ancient Mediterranean world carried out at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. This research is highly interdisciplinary including scholars in archaeology, philology, conservation science, geology, geochemistry, chemistry, and physics.

On this website you will find a short introduction to the field. But most importantly, the user has access to a database of literature on ancient polychromy and of artefacts in the collections of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek with traces of their original colouring.

Read more here: About and follow the project on Facebook

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