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13 October 2023, 22:05

Bright past: the colorful secrets of the ancient sculptures of the Parthenon

Bright past: the colorful secrets of the ancient sculptures of the Parthenon
For centuries, the Parthenon was a symbol of ancient Greek architecture, captivating with its grandeur and elegance. His iconic marble sculptures are renowned for their exquisite craftsmanship, but were believed to be pristine white, devoid of color. However, recent scientific discoveries have overturned this ancient belief.
Ancient sculptures were originally bright and colorful, decorated with paints. This helped confirm ground-breaking research by researchers from the British Museum, King's College London and the Art Institute of Chicago.

The researchers found convincing evidence that some of the sculptures had complex patterns. Scans have revealed fragments of surviving paint on the Parthenon marble, suggesting that the original painting of these sculptures was a much more complex and sophisticated process than previously thought.
A special non-invasive visualization technique was used. She helped to discover traces of the pigment known as Egyptian blue. This pigment, made from calcium, copper and silicon, was widely used in the past. Invisible to the naked eye, it emits a brilliant white glow when using this scanning method. Traces of Egyptian blue were found on 11 pediment sculptures and one figure in the frieze.

The Parthenon, an ancient temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, was built before 438 BC. e. in 10 years. It was destroyed in 1687 during the siege of the Acropolis by the Venetians during the war with the Turks. And it is one of the most famous monuments of ancient Greece.
For centuries, it fascinated art critics, historians and archaeologists. The sculptures that decorate the pediments, metopes and friezes of the Parthenon depict various mythological scenes and heroic events. Traditionally, these sculptures were imagined as pristine white figures to match the pristine white marble of the temple itself. However, new research has shown that the ancient Greeks had a much brighter vision in mind.
So why did the colors disappear? The answer lies in the passage of time and the elements. Exposure to sun, rain, and wind, combined with the effects of pollution and acid rain in the modern era, have been destroying pigments for thousands of years. As a result, the colorful beauty of the Parthenon sculptures was lost to the world until recent scientific discoveries revealed these ancient mysteries.
Source: cambridge.org

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