Roman Painted Statues In Full Colour - Pictures & Images - { 134 images } Created 30 Jan 2017

Reconstructed pictures of painted ancient Roman statues as they may have appeared 2000 years ago to download.

Painted Roman and Greek statues are a great shock to modern eyes and would have undoubtedly surprised the artists of the Renaissance and academics of the enlightenment who revered the plain marble versions of Roman and Greek sculpture.

The research of classical archaeologist Vinzenz Brinkmann revealed traces of pigments on Greek statues of the Glyptothek at Munich, which culminated in a travelling exhibition of replica painted sculptures titled “Gods in Colour” in 2004.

As different pigments weathered at different rates allowing the stone of the statues to be weathered down at different rates, low angle lights across the statues surface revealed patterns. Ultra violet lights revealed pigment traces and from this Vinzenz Brinkmann was able to build a picture of what the statues looked like in their original form.

The reconstructed statues of the Gods in Colour exhibition used flat bright colours as did the painted Vatican replica of its Augustus of Prima Porta statue. This drew criticism from historian like Fabio Barry of the University of St Andrews in Scotland, who criticised the painted statue for it unsubtle and exaggerated colours.

For our digitally coloured Roman statues we looked to the mosaics and frescos of the Romans for guidance, especially the Roman Egyptian Mummy paintings and the Frescoes from Pompeii.

It seems obvious to us that the skill required to make Roman statues made them objects of great value in their day. It is unlikely then that care would not be taken to over the statues painting and the cheap and gaudy Vatican replica of Augustus of Prima Porta statue would probably not have been acceptable at the time.

Looking at the later frescoes from Pompeii it can be seen that Roman painters were very accomplished with a fine understanding of technique. The painted Roman Egyptian Mummy paintings show startlingly realistic paintings of the deceased they portrayed. Using these as our core influences and drawing on mosaic colourings to allow us to try and accurately use colours relating to various gods we have tried to make out digital colourings of the Roman statues as realistic as possible.

The end result is startling. The coloured statues of Venus show her full sexuality and the coloured versions are powerful images of the body beautiful showing the incredible anatomical skill of Greek and Roman artists. The coloured bust of Claudius reveals the Emperor as a real person in a way that the eyeless white marble original does not. It is quite remarkable how realistic painted skin textures are on marble and how subtlety of living flesh can be transferred to the hard stone. The coloured statues almost look real and it is possible to gauge the true effect they would have had on the Romans 2000 years ago.

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