Hidden Colors and Intricate Patterns Found in Parthenon Marbles – ARTnews.com

According to a new study, the Parthenon marbles were once vibrantly colored with intricate patterns Published In the journal Old On Wednesday.

Originally intended to adorn the steps of the Athenian Parthenon Temple, the Parthenon Marbles were crafted by the ancient Greeks over 2,500 years ago. Fragments of them are now housed in the British Museum in London, and their possession has sparked controversy and ongoing restoration debate.

Although it may not be immediately apparent on the surface, the deities and mythical creatures depicted on statues were once painted in bright Egyptian blue, white, and purple. The colors represent the appearance of the figures: the water in which they rise, the serpentine skin of the sea serpent, the background spaces between the figures, and the motifs on the gods’ robes.

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For centuries, Greek and Roman sculpture was thought to be muted in color or lacking in color at all. This common misconception comes from years of seeing old stone and clay that has suffered decay and has been scrubbed clean. The same is true of the Parthenon marbles, which were not made to allow their paint to adhere properly to the stone’s surface. As a result, earlier historical restorations actually went to the extent of removing traces of paint from the figures.

Using fluorescence imaging, archaeologists were able to detect hidden chemical elements from traces of paint on the surface of the sculptures. The team found evidence of hidden patterns such as floral designs and figurative depictions created using a combination of four pigments.

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Blue was produced by the Egyptians and frequently used by the ancient Greeks and Romans, purple was produced using previously unknown materials, and two whites were formulated from the mineral gypsum and bone white pigment made from bone ash.

Color is „as visually important as texture,” the researchers wrote in the study. Based on the paint, the Parthenon may have been much brighter in color than previously thought.

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