Antiquity was white – as white as marble! For hundreds of years this fact has been one of the mainstays in the story of the origin of Western culture: and it remains firmly anchored in the notion we still have of our own culture today. This autumn’s major special exhibition at the Glyptotek turns the idea of the white world of Antiquity upside down and shows that Greek and Roman sculpture were colourful to a degree.
This autumn’s major special exhibition presents the results of the noteworthy, pioneering research undertaken by an international network of specialist teams - with the Glyptotek as an important contributor. In 2004 the museum presented an exhibition dealing with polychromy in ancient sculpture. Since then the research has made considerable progress, as regards a more precise mapping of the development in, and the extent of colour use in the ancient world. This is a case of research of an interdisciplinary, almost detective character with its incorporation of advanced natural scientific methods such as laser, x-rays, infrared reflectography and electron microscopic examination of colour sections from original sculptures. The research results achieved internationally and presented here indicate unequivocally the necessity for a revised picture of Antiquity and thereby also of our own cultural self-awareness.