Gods in Color. Polychromy in the ancient world
V. Brinkmann, R. Dreyfus, U. Koch-Brinkmann, Prestel Published: October 2017 Price: £29.99
Thisbook was published to accompany an exhibition held in San Francisco in Autumn 2017, but it will be of interest to anyone who loves classical antiquity.
Polychromy, the painting of objects in a variety of hues, was a regular feature of the sculpture and architecture of most ancient cultures, especially in Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Aegean, Greece and Rome. When such works began to be rediscovered in the 18th century after prolonged exposure to the elements, their coloured surfaces had faded. And most of us will never have thought that these beautiful white marble statues would have, in fact, been brightly coloured.
This book features six essays that describe the cultural contexts of selected ancient works and the modern technological methods to uncover their original colours.
But really it is just shocking to see how these ancient statues and friezes would have really looked, in their bright, and to our eyes, possibly garish colours. Lions with bright blue manes or Persian horsemen with brightly coloured tights definitely takes some getting used to. A fascinating book.