True Colors of Ancient Greek and Roman Statues

This isn’t related to books or writing but great info with fascinating photos. The statues in my book are also painted in bright colors just like the ancient times!


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.

the original colors of ancient Greek and Roman sculptures 3For 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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4 thoughts on “True Colors of Ancient Greek and Roman Statues

  1. I remember being rather disappointed when I learned about it, actually. I find the simple aesthetic of classic-classical art more appealing… but yeah, it used to be pretty colourful, apparently.

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  2. It’s fascinating to see the difference. But I wonder: if we’d known about the bright coloring from the beginning, would it have become the standard of beauty in the first place? It seems so gaudy now. Or would our entire ideal of beauty be different if the Renaissance etc artists had been emulating the colors our along. Maybe it’d be the classical white statues we found ugly instead, like cheap plaster molds. Interesting to think about.

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    • Colored versions don’t look gaudy to me, maybe cause I’m used to the colorful Eastern art. Indian statues have always been colorful. Ancient Egyptians used colors, though less contrasting colors and more complimentary ones. Western culture has evolved and changed, along with the tastes. But the culture of India is still intact, so are the bright colors.

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