Most of the austere and sometimes-frosty classical statues in The British Museum are apparently only that way because the paint completely wore away from them, over the millennia…


Ancient Greek sculpture, British Museum

A new travelling exhibition and conference aims to correct the picture. Gods in Color: Painted Sculpture of Classical Antiquity is currently on in Germany and apparently features 20 full-sized painted reconstructions

“Most ancient Greek and Roman sculptures were painted. Bright ochre, vermilion, and lime green adorned their clothing; browns and blues went into their hair and eyes; some of the bronze busts had gems inlaid in their eyes.”

‘The Archer’ from the west pediment of the Temple of Aphaia on Aegina. Color reconstruction of the original Greek marble executed between 500 and 470 B.C. Photograph: Dieter Rehm.

There was an accompanying coffee-table book (224 pages; 386 illustrations), although for some reason it was only sold at the U.S. version of the exhibition and is not available on Amazon.