Ancient Greek Statues, Now in Color!

Painted StatueThey’re iconic.  Stark white statues, busts, and ruins of the ancient Greeks have symbolized the purity and elegant simplicity of the ancient world to us for thousands of years.  They have left an impression on our collective consciousness, appearing in countless images from Renaissance paintings to modern film and television.

Yet recent technological advancements have revealed a secret lost to the wear and tear of time.

Those classic statues were actually brightly colored in their time.

A lamp is positioned carefully enough that the path of the light is almost parallel to the surface of the object…Brush-strokes are impossible to see, but because different paints wear off at different rates, the stone is raised in some places – protected from erosion by its cap of paint – and lowered in others. Elaborate patterns become visible.

Ultraviolet is also used to discern patterns. UV light makes many organic compounds fluoresce…On ancient Greek statues, tiny fragments of pigment still left on the surface glow bright, illuminating more detailed patterns…A series of dark blues will create a very different effect than gold and pink.

Ultraviolet Light Reveals How Ancient Greek Statues Really Looked

Painted Bust

The ancient world was vividly colored.

What do you think about the ancient statues having been colored?  If you have your own statues, will you paint them?

Zeus’ Altar of Ashes Rediscovered

A view from the summit of Mt. Lykaion, Arkadia...

View from Mt. Lykaion via Wikipedia

News from the Archaeological Institute of America‘s annual meeting in Anaheim, Calif.
By Bruce Bower January 30th, 2010; Vol.177 #3 (p. 14)

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Excavations at the Sanctuary of Zeus atop Greece’s Mount Lykaion have revealed that ritual activities occurred there for roughly 1,500 years, from the height of classic Greek civilization around 3,400 years ago until just before Roman conquest in 146.

“We may have the first documented mountaintop shrine from the ancient Greek world,” says project director David Romano of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
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Temple of Nemisis Unearthed

Nemesis holding the wheel of fortune, her righ...

Nemesis holding the Wheel of Fortune Image via Wikipedia

From here:

Archaeologists have found traces of a temple built for the Greek goddess of divine retribution, Nemesis, during excavations in the ancient city of Agora in the Aegean port city of İzmir. Akın Ersoy of Dokuz Eylül University‘s archaeology department and heading the archaeological excavations in the ancient city, told the Anatolia news agency on Monday that they speculated there might be a temple built for Nemesis in the area.

“We found traces of such a temple during our excavations in Agora,” he said.

“We want to concentrate our work to unearth the temple in the future.”

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