The full colors of Greece and Rome
An exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum in New York challenges our view of the Greco-Roman world
Perception is both informed by reality and shapes our understanding of it. And sometimes our perception is so badly off that it leads us to formulate a highly misleading view of certain aspects of reality. One such case was clearly on exhibit at Chroma, a show running through March 26, 2023 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Chroma displays seventeen color reconstructions of Greco-Roman sculptures, scattered throughout the permanent Greco-Roman wing of the museum. These reconstructions show us what ancient art actually looked like, as opposed to the way we have come to think of it through the centuries.
Instead of stern black and white marbles we see a dazzling array of colors that—as a friend of mine put it—even seem a little too post-modern. But they aren’t. They are our best representation of what these art pieces truly looked like a couple of millennia ago.
The exhibit is the brainchild of a husband and wife pair of archeologists, Vinzenz Brinkmann and Ulrike Koch-Brinkmann, who have been working at this for over four decades. They used a number of cutting edge techniques, including multispectral photography and X-ray diffraction, to produce as historically and artistically accurate a rendition of the seventeen pieces as possible.
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