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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Gods in Color—Golden Edition: Polychromy in Antiquity


Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung / Frankfurt / Art

Statuary polychromy. What is that? Simply put: Ancient Greek and Roman sculptures of men and women, which everyone assumed were monochrome marbles and bronzes, were once colorfully painted. And it wasn’t just decorative embellishment. Color enhanced characterization, facial expression, and storytelling. As Pausanias (120–180 A.D.), in his Description of Greece, wrote of a statue of Athena, “The face, hands, and feet are of ivory, the rest is of wood, with ornamentation of gilt work and of colors.” In its return to Frankfurt, “Gods in Color” features 100 objects, 60 of which are recent reconstructions. —L.J.

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Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung Schaumainkai 71, 60596 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
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