Wednesday 29 August 2012

Tracing the Colors of Ancient Sculpture

Using ultraviolet and raking light, archaeologist Vinzenz Brinkmann examines marble sculptures of Athena and Paris from the Temple of Aphaia, now in the Glyptothek in Munich. In the process, he reveals examples of physical evidence used to inform the recreations of the original color design and paint scheme of the statues.

The British Museum has used lights to detect luminescence from Egyptian blue on the Parthenon Sculptures.

Watch their video "Egyptian blue on Parthenon"

Conservator Maria Louise Sargent uses a digital microscope to discover traces of colour pigments.

“The statues are up to two meters tall and we have to scan every centimeter. What’s more, the digital microscope can magnify up to 160x. The color pigments and residues of the original paint are no more than traces and we are now able to detect them more easily and analyze them in detail. The digital technology allows us to record videos and images and show them on a monitor for discussion.”

Read Ancient Feast of Color - Digital Microscope Sheds Light on Classical Sculptures