Ancient sculptors were very much interested in color as well as form; the white marble statues we admire looked stunningly different in antiquity. They were painted with a palette that displayed a sophisticated understanding of color and shading.
To illustrate how a marble Aphrodite might have appeared to the ancients, we asked German archaeologist Vinzenz Brinkmann, who has pioneered techniques of color restoration, to create a photomechanical reconstruction—never before published—of the first-century A.D. Roman Lovatelli Venus. It was excavated from the ruins of a villa in Pompeii. Unlike most ancient statues, this one gave Brinkmann a head start, because copious evidence of original paint survived. “There are rich traces of pigment which we analyzed using noninvasive methods such as UV-Vis absorption spectroscopy,” he explains. “What we do is absolutely faithful, based on physical and chemical measurements.” (Read entire article.)Share