It's amazing what a splash of color will do. These dusty old sculptures and statues that have survived from antiquity mean a lot to the world, but until now we haven't been seeing them as they really were. It's a well established fact that, contrary to our expectation, ancient sculptors actually had their works painted with rich and vibrant colors. And if you've ever wondered how this would make those rare antiquities look then you've come to right place. Here we show you how these works appear today - all drab and lifeless - then with a click of a button you can see them transformed before your very eyes in full color.
Simply click on the image to see it in color.
2. Cuirass Torso, Acropolis
You have to try and imagine what it would have been like strolling around an ancient city. Instead of pearly white marble and light grays, you would in fact have been in a multi-colored playground of civilization and culture. When you return back to the original photograph you realize how much we have lost from antiquity.
3. An Antique Bust
I, for one feel like I will never think about the ancient world the same way again. Color makes everything seem so much more human and real that I can easily imagine visiting the past.
4. Byzantine Empress, Ariadne
5. Divus Augustus, Prima Porta
First of all Octavius was adopted by Julius Caesar, inheriting the famous name. He then became a quasi-religious figure, adopting the name Augustus, after he obtained supreme power over the Roman world, becoming the first emperor. His reign brought about prolonged peace (the pax Romana) and a flourishing literary age, known as the Augustan, or Golden Age of Latin letters.
6. The Lion from Loutraki, Greece
7. Peplos Kore, Athens
The Kore statue is actually a genre of sculpture which describes free standing young female figures like the one depicted above. Fortunately scientists are able to reconstruct the type of colors that were used on such works of art by closely inspecting the sculptures that have remained for pigment traces. There are also contemporary descriptions, like those of Pausanias, that give a good insight into their original appearance.
8. A Golden Boy
9. Emperor Caligula
Among the most infamous of the Roman emperors was Gaius Caligula (little boots), the son of a famous and loved general, Germanicus. A popular choice to ascend the throne following the death of Tiberius (Augustus' son in law), Caligula's reign descended into complete madness and incompetence. He was eventually murdered by his own security staff.
10. A Young Roman
11. Athena Lemnia
Athena was the protecting deity of the famous city of Athens, and as such was a kind of symbol for the great city, which so dominated cultural life during the Roman empire, long after Athens had resigned its own limited leadership of the Greek world. The goddess is also synonymous with wisdom, very apt for Athens' reputation as the home of philosophy and learning.
12. Attisk Gravlekythos
Athena's brother and son of Zeus, Apollo, was considered a patron of many things, particularly the arts. He was therefore frequently made a subject of artists' work.
14. The Stele of Paramythion
15. Aphaiatemplet Aigina
Aiphaia was a goddess who was only worshipped in one location, on the isle of Aegina. Here you can see a bust of the goddess as she would have appeared to her worshippers, radiant and full of glory.
16. Stele of Aristion