Gods in Color: Painted Sculpture of Classical Antiquity

September 22, 2007 Through January 20, 2008
At The Arthur M. Sackler Museum (more about the Sackler)

Color reconstructions of the so-called Peplos Kore from the Athenian Akropolis, by Ulrike Koch-Brinkmann. Photograph courtesy of Stiftung Archäologie.

Imagine a stroll through ancient Athens among colorful statues and brightly decorated temples—in contrast with the white marble of the ruins that survive today. This exhibition presents full-size copies of Greek and Roman sculpture whose painted decoration, faded over the millennia, has been painstakingly reconstructed.

The color reconstructions—based on close examination and scientific analysis of the scarce traces of paint remaining on the surfaces of the originals—include a number of well-known masterpieces, such as the Peplos Kore from the Athenian Acrop-olis, pedimental sculpture from the Temple of Aphaia on the island of Aegina, and the so-called Alexander Sarcophagus. The reconstructions are juxtaposed in the galleries with ancient statues and reliefs from the Art Museums’ own collection in their current, colorless state of preservation. The exhibition opens up a world of richly attired deities, proud warriors, and barbarians in dazzling costume and dispels a popular misconception of Western art: the white marble statue of classical antiquity.

Organized by the Stiftung Archäologie and the Staatliche Antikensammlungen und Glyptothek, Munich, the exhibition was conceived by Vinzenz Brinkmann and Raimund Wünsche and curated at the Art Museums by Susanne Ebbinghaus, George M. A. Hanfmann Curator of Ancient Art, and Amy Brauer, Diane Heath Beever Associate Curator of Ancient Art.

Funding for the exhibition and its publications was provided by Christopher and Jean Angell, Walter and Ursula Cliff, Mark B. Fuller, the German Consulate General Boston, the German Foreign Office, Evangelos D. Karvounis, James and Sonia Kay, Roy Lennox and Joan Weberman, Marian Marill, Markus Michalke, Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani, Samuel Plimpton, Laura and Lorenz Reibling, the Ida and William Rosenthal Foundation, and two anonymous donors.


Symposium Information

click here for press release

click here for PDF of the gallery guide.

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