TIL that ancient Greek and Roman statues were often painted in bright colours. The paint faded away over time, leaving white marble.

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It’s like with old battleships. They’re presented as just wooden but they were lavishly, to our eye even ridiculously, colourful and kitschy.


My art teacher explained this about the Parthenon replica located in Nashville TN. Patrons often complained the statue of Athena looks too garish. However, that’s what the statue actually looked like in antiquity.


I’m skeptical that the statues looked like these reproductions. No doubt they were painted, and they were very brightly colored. But these people put hundreds of hours meticulously sculpting every detail of the flesh. Then what just put a single color of paint over it? I think they would have put a lot of work into making the paint jobs just as detailed. Like maybe some shading and multiple tones. I’m sure they would still look garish to modern eyes, but I suspect they were painted by very skilled painters.


Its things like this that always get to me. Like the pyramids. They have survived until now but my god how they must have looked in the past, covered in pure white with a gold capstone on top shining like a beacon for dozens of miles in every direction…


Some archeologists in the past even scrubbed the colors off to preserve the mythical image of whiteness and purity of the Romans.