“Historically, colour has always been seen as a status symbol, and our collective tastes have definitely changed over the centuries. Seeing these classic statues recreated in vivid colors seems gaudy and almost obscene to us today because we expect ancient Greek statuary to bear that dignified blank white look. But when they were created, bright colors helped to give detail and depth to the sculptures. According to the artists and art lovers of that time, bare statues were ugly and unsightly.”
The Ancients loved color! Finding out about this is pretty great but I’m so used to white marbled statues it just doesn’t seem right to see them colored. I have seen so many exhibitions of Greek statues but I never never never even imagined any old sculpture being in color.
For centuries, we’ve assumed that the clean, white surfaces of ancient Greek sculptures were the standard of beauty; during the Renaissance, artists strove to emulate this simple aesthetic in their own art. Even today, we expect truly beautiful classical and ancient art to be pure and unadorned – but Vinzenz Brinkmann and Ulrike Koch-Brinkmann have spent over two decades proving us wrong.
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