Wednesday, June 25, 2008

True Colors

"If people say, ‘What kitsch,’ it annoys me but I’m not surprised,” says Brinkmann, who, with his wife, archaeologist Ulrike Koch-Brinkmann, colored this reconstruction of the c.550 B.C., “Lion from Loutraki.”

"A replica of a stele erected c. 510 B.C. on the grave of the Greek warrior, Aristion, commemorates his exploits in battle. He is dressed in yellow bronze or leather armor, a blue helmet (part of which is missing), and matching blue shinguards trimmed in yellow."

Absolutely a great article from Smithsonian Magazine where one learns the ancient Greeks were into color big time, something that would have changed the look of art forever had the pigments stayed on the great statues and buildings the Greeks had created from the 6Th - 2Nd centuries BC. One fascinating tidbit from the article was a passage scholars missed on how just important the Greeks felt about color on their masterpieces.

"My life and fortunes are a monstrosity, Partly because of Hera, partly because of my beauty. If only I could shed my beauty and assume an uglier aspect The way you would wipe color off a statue."

Helen of Troy - Euripides

What's amazing about this is (after the shock wears off that white was NOT the look of Greek art) is the reality of light and color in Greece as bright sun added to blue sky & deep blue sea gives a pretty good notion that color was an essential component to their culture and... "Vinzenz Brinkmann insists his eye-popping reproductions of ancient Greek sculptures are right on target."

The “Alexander Sarcophagus” (c. 320 B.C.), was found in the royal necropolis of the Phoenician city of Sidon.

After looking at the images, one must admit the colors rock and the look does too.

Now just imagine how colorful the Parthenon was... and yes, modernity lives on in spite of the fact it began over 2600 years ago.
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