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1 Detail of the painted Prima Porta Augustus. Photo: Wolfram Martini, with permission from Munich Staatliche Antikensammlung und Glyptothek.
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THE IMPORTANCE OF COLOUR ON ANCIENT MARBLE SCULPTURE
MARK BRADLEY

When the white marble head of an Amazon was discovered at Herculaneum in March 2006 with delicate colours clearly preserved on the hair, eyes and eyelashes, the news came as little surprise to the world of archaeology and art history (plate 2). Several venues around Europe, including museums in Munich, Rome and Copenhagen, had already hosted a bold and striking exhibition of painted Greco-Roman casts, sometimes set alongside their white marble originals, representing not an arbitrary reconstructive imagination but many years of intensive scientific and archaeological research. Following more than two hundred years of research into painted marble, museums are now highly cautious about cleaning the surfaces of their sculpture collections, and most serious reconstructions of Greco-Roman architecture and sculpture are prepared to integrate elements alongside their gleaming white marbles. Nevertheless, the colourful discovery at Herculaneum was reported in several mainstream European newspapers, demonstrating the enduring potential for paint on classical sculpture to surprise or shock the public, and the continuing need to integrate colour properly into the classical aesthetic. Winckelmann’s long-lived dogma about pure white classical art still has its supporters.1 And yet, while most discussions include a stock footnote to the effect that ancient sculpture was coloured, paint is seldom taken into account in arthistorical studies of ancient marble sculpture.2 In spite of the striking aesthetic differences between the original Prima Porta statue of Augustus and its painted reconstruction (plates 3 and 4; see also plate 1), for example, the significance of its colours has still not been integrated into serious discussions of its art-historical importance or its artistic composition. The choice of marble for ancient sculpture and the ramifications of the stone’s natural colour have received some attention, but the difference that the application of coloured coatings might have made to individual pieces remains on the whole underexplored.3 This is partly a result of the disappearance of paint traces from the majority of surviving pieces of sculpture, and partly to the degree of guesswork involved in reconstructing the original state of pieces even where some traces remain. However, recent work by Vinzenz Brinkmann and other archaeologists and art historians in Europe has drawn attention back to the importance of colour on ancient sculpture, as well as the possibilities granted by new scientific methods for more accurate and
DOI:10.1111/j.1467-8365.2009.00666.x
ART HISTORY . ISSN 0141–6790 . VOL 32 NO 3 . JUNE 2009 pp 427-457 & Association of Art Historians 2009. Published by Blackwell Publishing, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA.

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complete reconstructions than were previously thought possible. Through the use of ultraviolet fluorescence and infrared reflection and raking light, paint traces largely invisible to the naked eye (and the ‘ghosts’ left by paint traces on the stone) can be detected. Furthermore, electronic databases allow us to detect patterns in the use of pigments on different sculptural types and decorative features.4 We are now in a stronger position than ever before to enrich our appreciation and understanding of ancient sculptural polychromy. This paper aims to complement the pioneering technical and reconstructive work that has recently been carried out by approaching the subject from the perspective of the cultural history of colour and perception in the ancient world. Although it will review material and findings from Archaic and Classical Greek and 2 Head of an Amazon, from a life-size statue Hellenistic periods, this study will concendiscovered near the Nonius Balbus Basilica trate on the art and literature of imperial at Herculaneum, c. CE 60. Marble. Hercula- Rome, which at the present time is underrepresented in this field.5 The recent neum: Antiquarium, SAP 8702. Photo: exhibitions of painted Greek and Roman Riccardo Giordano/ Herculaneum Consercasts at more than ten international vation Project. Published with the kind permission of the Soprintendenza Speciale venues and the publication of Brinkmann’s key study Die Polychromie der archaischen und per i Beni Culturali di Napoli e Pompei u ` Ministero per i Beni e le Attivita Culturali. fr. hklassischen Skulptur (2003) make this an opportune moment to review the question of what difference it makes to think of ancient sculpture in colour rather than in monochrome. How does colour alter the visual dynamics of the Parthenon frieze? What does a painted Prima Porta Augustus achieve that a white version does not? If Trajan’s column was painted, does that change the way it was viewed? How does (or how should) colour transform our aesthetic of ancient art? Answers to these challenging questions can be reached by integrating the principles of pigment distribution (which colours are used to define which features?) and literary ekphrasis (how does an ancient viewer describe a painted object?). This article will first review some of the most significant pieces of sculpture on which significant paint traces have survived, and consider in individual cases the basic functions of coloured coatings and patinas. By integrating visual material with literary evidence, it will then assess the significance of sculptural polychromy under four headings: visibility, finish, realism and trompel’oeil. Finally, as a ‘pilot’ for the application of these interpretative guidelines to a single piece of ancient sculpture, the article will revisit the Prima Porta Augustus and consider some of the ways in which polychromy can enrich our understanding and interpretation of this key piece of Roman art. 428
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3 (left) The Prima Porta statue of Augustus, c. CE 15. Parian marble, height 204 cm. Rome: Vatican Museums (inv. 2290). Photo: Vatican Museums. 4 (right) The painted plaster reconstruction of the Prima Porta statue of Augustus, 2002–3. Rome: Vatican Museums (inv. 36858). Photo: Vatican Museums.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE

Painted marble is a controversial subject which has elicited little agreement since it was first raised in the early nineteenth century. It is now generally accepted that most – and perhaps all – Greco-Roman marble sculpture and architecture (like its Egyptian and Near-Eastern counterparts) received some form of supplementary coating to modify and enhance its surfaces, which also manipulated the colour.6 This surface treatment is now recognized to be integral to the overall effect of the sculpture. In particular, it has been observed that the draped parts of statues, their eyes, eyelashes, lips, hair and accessories received coats of colour, and it is likely that the remaining areas were also treated so that the appearance of the stone was modified.7 The backgrounds of grave reliefs and architectural friezes were normally brightly coloured, and details in the foreground were frequently picked out with colour and metal attachments.8 Evidence of the gilding of specific features of marble sculpture, both statuary and relief sculpture, to produce the effect of metal accoutrements as well as to distinguish certain features of heroic figures survives from as early as the fifth century BCE through to the end of antiquity.9 In addition to gilding, there is widespread evidence for the completion of marble sculpture with features in bronze, lead, stucco or wooden accessories: weapons, armour, sceptres, hair, beards and jewellery in these materials were added to a wide range of sculpture from all
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5 Laurence Alma-Tadema, Pheidias and the Frieze of the Parthenon, 1868, showing Pheidias unveiling the bold colours of the frieze to his (much more subdued and paler-skinned) guests. Oil on canvas, 72.3 Â 109.2 cm. Birmingham: Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery. Photo: Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery.

periods. Eyes were normally painted directly on to the marble, but they could also be inlaid using enamel, ivory, glass, coloured marbles or gems, sometimes kept in place with bronze eyelashes.10 Early imperial Rome also saw the proliferation of complex and sophisticated combinations of polychrome marbles in order to produce realistic coloristic effects, with white marbles used to render skin, darker stones for the hair and textured marbles for the clothes: even for these pieces, one should probably expect further embellishment by means of coatings and patinas for the skin and paint for the lips and eyes.11 Nor did applications of colour simply modify carved details already marked out on the stone: often paint alone was employed to render and differentiate detail on smooth surfaces.12 Marble was symptomatic of a wide range of sculptural materials that were treated and embellished to produce subtle and realistic effects of colour. The surfaces of sculpture in limestone, sandstone or porous volcanic stones were often covered with plaster or stucco, and it is generally accepted that these coverings were painted in their entirety.13 Terracotta sculpture was also intricately painted, its pigments often better preserved than marble sculpture owing to its porous surfaces and the context in which it was normally kept.14 In addition, the surfaces of bronze statuary were regularly variegated or coloured with different alloys, inlaid or brightly painted eyes, silver-plated teeth and fingernails, darkened hair and other features, and were sometimes gilded or coated with various patinas and pigmentations.15 The same was probably also true of the majority of sculpture in ivory, most notably variegated chryselephantine statuary.16 It should be expected that antiquity’s wooden statues, now almost entirely lost 430
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to us, were coloured in various ways.17 Furthermore, polychromy – whether produced by combining stones or metals or by applying pigments to sculptural surfaces – cut across the full range of sculpture types: busts, statues and architectural sculpture, as well as vase reliefs and grave stelai. This was symptomatic of ancient Mediterranean art in general: mummy portraits, polychrome vases, mosaics and wall-paintings (to give just a few examples) regularly deployed rich combinations of colours. Evidence of coloured sculpture stretches from the seventh century BCE through to at least the third or fourth century CE, and tempera techniques and other forms of pigmentation persisted in Byzantine, Medieval and Early Modern sculpture.18 On the whole, it seems, where there was form there was colour. We can no longer accept the absence of visible paint traces on pieces of marble sculpture as evidence that they were originally monochrome: it has been amply demonstrated that excavation methods, cast modelling, museum histories, weathering and pigment disintegration can account for the near or complete disappearance of pigment traces.19 There is now a veritable list of celebrated ancient marble sculptures known to have been transformed by coats of colour. One of the earliest, and arguably most important, additions to this list was the sculptural relief of the Parthenon, the subject of heated controversy throughout the nineteenth century owing to a series of bold interpretations and garish reconstructions (plate 5), and in the 1930s for the rigorous
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6 Painted plaster reconstruction of the ‘Peplos Kore’, c. 530 BCE (1975, repainted 1996). Cambridge: The Museum of Classical Archaeology (inv. 34a). Photo: The Museum of Classical Archaeology, Cambridge.

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cleaning of the residues on the surface of the Elgin marbles.20 On firmer ground was evidence of colour preserved on the marble korai and kouroi that idealized Athenian womanhood and manhood: these had long offended modern classical aesthetics with their brightly painted bodies, which imitated the decorative luxury of the East. As examples of Archaic sculpture, however, they could be relegated to a pre-classical past, before the Greeks had acquired any ‘classical’ taste. Nevertheless, the imaginative reconstruction of the Peplos Kore in vivid red, blue, green and white pigments complete with jewellery, head-dress and a meniskos, exhibited in the first section of the Museum of Classical Archaeology in Cambridge since 1979 (plate 6), has never failed to provoke a reaction from 7 Detail from the colour rendering of the ‘Alexander Sarcophagus’, showing sophisticated visitors through its contrast to all the 21 and realistic uses of colour to depict the figure other white casts surrounding it. Among other important pieces of of a Persian fighter. Photo: F. Winter, Der Archaic sculpture, the frieze of the Alexandersarkophag aus Sidon, 1912, Strassburg. Siphnian Treasury at Delphi (c. 525 BCE) retains traces of paint across its surfaces and has been closely studied.22 Other important Greek coloured sculptures, however, were predominantly Classical: in particular, traces of bright colours were noted by the excavators of the Temple of Aphaia at Aigina in 1811, not only on the friezes and pedimental sculptures, but also on the floor of the cella, the walls, the marble gutters and antefixes and on the roof ridge tiles.23 Striking combinations of abundant mineral pigments have also been identified and documented on the Propylaea and the Erechtheum on the Athenian Akropolis, the Hephaesteion, the pedimental sculptures of the temple of Zeus at Olympia, a wide array of architectural and statuary sculpture from Magna Graecia, the Great Macedonian tomb at Lefkadia, the fourth-century Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and the so-called ‘Alexander Sarcophagus’ in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum.24 The latter piece in particular is thought to mark a period of major change in ancient polychromy, with a greater focus on realism, subtle pastel colours, and a more sophisticated aesthetic use of the underlying marble25 (plate 7). Less work has been conducted on Hellenistic and Roman painted sculpture, although brightly coloured human eyes appear to have been the norm, and colour traces have been identified across a wide range of sculpture types, particularly cult statues, garden sculpture and portraits.26 Of surviving polychrome sculpture from Rome, only two pieces have been systematically studied. The most important is the Parian marble statue of Augustus from Prima Porta, on which extensive 432
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8 (left) The head of Caligula, c. CE 37–41, photographed in 1957 before it was damaged, showing clear traces of colour on and around the left eye. Parian marble, height 31 cm. Copenhagen: Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (inv. 2687). Photo: Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen. 9 (right) The first of two painted reconstructions (‘Caligula A’) of the head of Caligula, 2003. Copenhagen: Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (inv. 2687a). Photo: Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.

traces of multiple pigments have been carefully documented and reconstructed, many of which are still visible to the naked eye27 (see plate 3). Another, which along with the Prima Porta has been a highlight of the recent exhibitions of painted replicas, is the head of Caligula in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek at Copenhagen28 (plate 8). This head retains many pigment traces in the hairlines and around the eyes, as well as a tempera technique applied to the skin, and was clearly painted in its entirety. Its painted marble reconstruction (plate 9) exhibits the same kinds of mineral pigments that have been identified on the original piece and is among the most successful recent attempts to reconstruct sculpture in colour. Its detailed upward-staring eyes, lacquered highlights in the hair, and the use of black pigmentation to create the impression of depth in between the locks provide a striking example of the sophistication and realism that may have been applied to the process of painting Roman marbles. Roman sculptural relief has received even less attention, although paint traces have been identified on the intricate sculptures of Trajan’s column in the Forum of Trajan at Rome, a factor that may have been instrumental in enhancing the visibility of this celebrated monument (see below p. 436).29 Tauroctony reliefs from the cult sites of Mithras also often retain traces of colour and gilding owing to the stable underground conditions in which they have been preserved; these reliefs were colour-coded so that individual features of the scene’s iconography could be picked out, and Mithras’ face was sometimes gilded as he stared back towards the sun (see plate 10).
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10 Mid-third-century CE relief depicting Mithras Tauroctonos (the Bull-Slayer) with gilded face as he stares back towards the Sun, with polychrome features clearly preserved in the scene around him. Marble, 90.5 Â 148 cm. Rome: Terme di Diocleziano, Museo Nazionale Romano. Photo: Terme di Diocleziano, Museo Nazionale Romano, Rome, inv. 205837.

Much more work on pigment identification and reconstruction, particularly for Roman sculpture, remains to be carried out. Countless pieces retain traces of pigments, ‘ghosts’ left on the surface of the stone by the pigments, and tell-tale rasp marks, and the technology is at hand to undertake comprehensive surveys; unfortunately, pigment traces on sculpture are deteriorating rapidly every day, and there is an urgent need to collect data while it is still available. Research projects around the globe are confronting this challenge: besides the collaborative efforts of Munich, Rome and Copenhagen for the recent exhibitions, the Louvre has conducted important work on its collection of Hellenistic funerary stelai, and the British Museum is undertaking a project to produce a ‘virtual Parthenon’ in full colour.30 In New York, Mark B. Abbe is leading important research into painted and gilded marble sculpture at Aphrodisias, and in Copenhagen Jan Østergaard, Curator of Ancient Art at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, has established the interdisciplinary ‘Copenhagen Polychromy Network Project’ (2008–10) in order to analyse a representative selection of classical sculptures in the Glyptotek with a view to identifying pigment traces and attempting reconstructive work.31 The findings of all this research look set to dramatically increase our knowledge and understanding of the range, methods and problems of sculptural polychromy.
VISIBILITY

One aesthetic compromise that is sometimes reached by those less willing to accept the polychromy of classical sculpture is that marbles were coloured with 434
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subtle and muted pigments – and indeed there is some evidence that Classical Greek, Hellenistic and Roman sculpture may have been coloured in increasingly sophisticated ways (discussed below).32 However, one important function of sculptural polychromy that has long been acknowledged, and which has in particular been foregrounded by Brinkmann in his study of Archaic sculpture, is that the bold, intense mineral pigments used were a means of enhancing visibility, strengthening legibility and distinguishing heroic or divine figures.33 The early fifthcentury BCE figure of the archer (identified as Paris) from the pediment of the temple of Aphaia at Aegina – one of the highlights of Brinkmann’s reconstructive work – was brightly painted precisely so that it could be picked out from a distance against the blue background of the pediment, and not at eye level as it was presented in recent exhibitions34 (plate 11). The pediment sculptures of the temple of Zeus at Olympia were also vividly painted to increase their visibility.35 Black undercoating detected between the ridges of drapery on the Parthenon sculptures produced a three-dimensional effect, and contrasting hues may also have helped viewers to distinguish overlapping horses on the north and south sides of the frieze.36 It has also been observed that pedimental sculptures on tall buildings were coloured more brightly
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11 Painted model of the archer from the west pediment of the Temple of Aphaia at Aegina, inserted into its pedimental context in order to demonstrate the importance of colour and colour contrast for visibility. Munich: Staatliche Antikensammlung und Glyptothek. Photo: Vinzenz Brinkmann.

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than those on low buildings, and that vividly coloured backgrounds helped viewers to pick out the figures.37 Colour must have been critical to monuments such as Trajan’s column, where distinctive features (such as the emperor in purple) could be highlighted and artistic detail appreciated by viewers standing some twenty feet or further away. Paint offers one solution to the perennial problem of how viewers could pick out the intricate sculpted detail of such monuments. One effect of using bold colours to enhance visibility, it has been argued, is that the sculptures may have appeared super-natural: they were painted ‘not in imitation of, but by analogy with nature, the colours bolder and simpler’.38 At a distance, however, bright colours do not necessarily make the subject seem unrealistic; viewed at close proximity, bold pigments professionally applied to pieces such as the Prima Porta Augustus and the Copenhagen Caligula catch the attention and make the sacred and the powerful stand out.39 This key idea, and its connection with Roman heroic statuary, was memorably captured by Virgil in the first book of the Aeneid, when Venus finally reveals her son Aeneas to the Carthaginian queen with a view to captivating her with his statuesque beauty:
He [Achates] had scarcely finished speaking, when suddenly the enveloping cloud parted and vanished into thin air. Aeneas stood there and gleamed in the bright light (claraque in luce refulsit), like a god in his face and shoulders; for his mother herself had breathed the purple glow (purpureum lumen) of youth into her son’s distinguished locks and a pleasant spark (laetos honores) into his eyes – just as hands add distinction (decus) to ivory, or when silver or Parian marble is laced with yellow gold.40

Aeneas, at least in this divinely enhanced manifestation, appears both superhuman and statuesque: Virgil exploits both the metaphors of heroic statuary and of divine lustre in order to convey his appearance and his impression on the queen.41 The poet’s language captures the effects of clarity and luminosity (claraque in luce refulsit . . . lumen purpureum . . . laetos honores . . . decus) and then compares Aeneas to a chryselephantine or Parian marble statue, its surfaces embellished by artistic expertise just as Aeneas’ striking figure is evoked by Virgilian ekphrasis. The human form provides only the raw material; artistic skill provides the finishing touches – sea-purple dye on ivory or gilded decoration on marble. Elsewhere in the Aeneid, figures that dazzle and captivate characters with their appearance are likened to statues: in particular, the blushing Lavinia, who says not a word in the poem but through her beauty alone enraptures the Italian prince Turnus and thereby crafts his doom, is also compared to an ivory sculpture dyed with purple (12.64–69). The heroic statue, then, was set up both as the passive spectacle that drew the viewer to it, and as an active protagonist that made an impact on the viewer’s world: the striking use of colour, it appears, was a key medium through which this impact could be made.
FINISH

Colour ‘finishes’ off a piece of sculpture. It endows a further, final layer of meaning to the form of the sculpture, and allows the various characteristics of the marble to be developed and expressed with greater sophistication. This is the emphasis placed by most of the literary evidence that survives for the use of 436
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colour on ancient statuary. In a play distinguished by its subtle use of sculpture imagery and the blurring of boundaries between image and reality, Euripides’ Helen bewails her legendary beauty, and wishes she had been wiped clean as if she were a statue (exaleiphtheis’hos agalma), and made plain instead of beautiful: ¯ the Euripidean metaphor suggests a figure in the round that had been embellished and given character by a layer of colour, and whose surface appearance could be whitewashed and repainted less beautifully.42 In a similar vein, the second-century polymath Lucian provides a good example of what, from one ancient perspective, colour can do for a work of art. The essential interaction between form, material and colour (and the role of colour in disguising materiality) is neatly demonstrated by this discussion of the final stages in the preparation of the ‘ideal’ statue. Here, Lucian’s statue is complete, all except for the finish (Imagines 7–8):
[This final ingredient is] not the most unimportant, my friend, unless you will maintain that perfection of form is but little enhanced by its skin (chroa) and appropriateness in each detail, so that precisely those parts will be dark that should be dark, and those bright which should be, and the blush will bloom upon the surface and so forth. I fear we will stand in need of the most important feature! . . . let Polygnotos do the becomingness of her brows and the blush of her cheeks . . . and let him also render her clothing to the most delicate texture . . . the rest of the body let Apelles represent . . . not too white but just diffused with blood . . . let her be throughout of a colour like that which Homer gave to the thighs of Menelaos when he likened them to ivory tinged with purple and let him also paint (grapsato) ¯ the eyes and make her ‘ox-eyed’. The Theban poet [Pindar], too, shall lend him a hand in the work, to give her ‘violet brows’. Yes, and Homer shall make her ‘laughter-loving’ and ‘brightarmed’ and ‘rosy-fingered’ . . .

Lucian’s Imagines playfully explores the dialogic relationship between sculpture and poetic ekphrasis.43 In this excerpt, the speaker Polystratus points out that a statue and any claims to poetic expression are unfinished unless chroa – a skin or layer – is applied. This ‘skin’ mediates the capacity of the stone to reproduce the figure the sculptor is imitating. That this ‘finish’ is a delicate and subtle process, designed to bring the work of art to life, is paraded by Lucian’s exploitation of the ´ colour cliches of Greek verse: ‘becomingness’, ‘faint flush’, ‘delicate texture’, faint diffusion of blood, the crimsoned ivory legs of Menelaos, ‘ox-eyes’, violet brows, and so on, toy with concepts of colour rooted not only in other areas of sensation and objects, but also in other literary and artistic traditions. All these finishing touches that enrich the meaning of the subject matter are dependent on the application of colour. An ancient statue without colour, then, is like a mannequin without clothes.44 One further aspect of the use of colour as a finish for sculpture is that it gives the subject matter another interpretative layer for the art historian to consider. In particular, it allows the artist – and the viewer – to distinguish particular features of the image that lend the subject matter definition and distinction. In Eclogue 7, Virgil has a character promise a statue to Diana made out of polished marble (leui de marmore), her ankles bound with scarlet (punicei) buskins: here, the colour marks a special and defining honour for the statue’s dedication. In the Catalepton, the poet promises Venus, if she will let him finish his Trojan epic not just incense
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and a painted tablet (picta tabella) to decorate her temple, but also a marble statue of a winged Cupid, his quiver painted, as is the custom, with wings of a thousand colours (mille colores); this suggests that there were typologies of paint appropriate for individual subjects.45 Furthermore, some of the pigments that were regularly used on high-grade sculpture (malachite, azurite, cinnabar, Egyptian blue) were worth their weight in gold and it is likely that connoisseurs would be trained to identify and appreciate the cost and value of certain pigments that were used, just as they were trained to recognize the material out of which the sculpture was carved.46 There is some reason to believe, at least for the most important and expensive works of sculpture, that a separate professional was commissioned to ‘finish’ off what the sculptor had started, once the sculpture had been set up in position.47 In a frequently cited passage of book 35 of the Natural History, Pliny the Elder discusses the aesthetic tastes of the sculptor Praxiteles who, when asked which marble works he thought most highly of, replied those that the painter Nicias had worked on, since he valued the process of applying paint (circumlitio) to statues so highly.48 Plutarch, in his treatise On the glory of the Athenians, compares tragic actors to the painters, gilders and dyers of statues; like these, tragic actors put the finishing touches to the plays they perform.49 There is some evidence that professionals called ‘polishers’ (Latin politores) existed, who developed sophisticated methods to achieve subtle finishes for gems, ivories and marbles.50 Indeed ‘polishing’ provided a convenient classical metaphor for finishing and refining diverse features of ancient life: agriculture, clothes, speech, literature, moral stature and physical appearance, as well as works of art, were all ‘polished’ in order to achieve refinement and perfection.51 The application of colour to marble sculpture, then, was an integral part of the finishing process. The adjective ‘marble’ (marmareos/marmoreus) described not a raw lump of rock, but a shaped, crafted, polished work of art.52 Part of a sculptural ‘polish’ might also include preservative coatings applied to the marble, as well as varnishes, patinas, glazes, colour sheens, highlights and metal attachments. Furthermore, we should expect that many sculptures were periodically restored and repainted in order to restore colours that had faded or been damaged, and it is by no means certain that they were always restored in the same way.53 Indeed, there is probably very little to tell between the various coats of polish and coats of paint on Roman marble. Across antiquity, marble surfaces were artificially enhanced by a process called ganosis, in which a layer of melted wax mixed with olive oil was applied, which both protected the underlying marble and enhanced the brilliance of painted surfaces.54 It seems likely that ganosis was applied to sculptural surfaces on a regular (in some cases annual) basis, and it was probably a standard part of restoration projects.55 Ganosis was perhaps one of a number of available surface treatments which modified the appearance of underlying colours. Pliny describes Apelles’ use of atramentum (35.97) as a finish for his paintings, a dark preservative/varnish applied so thinly that it threw up the brilliance of all the colours (claritates colorum omnium excitaret) while toning down and giving ‘sombreness’ (austeritas) to those that were too garish (floridi): the effect, he adds, was similar to that of looking through tinted glass (lapis specularis).56 ‘Finishing’ the artistic medium, then, was a highly complex technical process which highlighted and enhanced the underlying material. 438
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What is needed, then, is a more sophisticated understanding of the relationship between ‘colour’ and ‘material’: one must avoid the assumption that colour was applied in a way that disregarded the underlying material.57 The sophisticated polishes and patinas documented in contemporary literature and epigraphy, and the complex mineral layers identified on certain pieces of sculpture, should be considered as evidence for a more nuanced use of polychromy on classical sculpture than is sometimes suggested by modern reconstructions. The Prima Porta Augustus, unlike its painted plaster cast, was carved out of an expensive block of Parian lychnites, and must have integrated colours into its translucent surfaces so that the marble’s special properties were complemented by the pigments that brought it ‘to life’ (see below pp. 447–50). Although Carrara rather than Parian, the painted marble replica of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek Caligula (see plate 9) is more successful in this respect. The refraction of light entering through the paint layer from the crystalline structures of the marble has a significant effect on the clarity and depth of the colours, so that 12 J. Gibson, Tinted Venus, 1851–1856. Marble, the pigments do not merely sit on the height 175 cm. The skin is lightly tinted to surface of the sculpture. Furthermore, give warmth to the marble, and the eyes, some pigments – such as cinnabar – hair, apple, tortoise and hem of the robe are penetrate the surface of the marble, so fully coloured. Liverpool: Walker Art Gallery that they sit in the stone rather than on (inv. WAG7808). Photo: National Museums it: this may have served, for example, to Liverpool. ‘suffuse’ a skin pigment laid on the surface of the cheeks in a highly subtle and realistic way. Surface finishing may have further enriched this effect: in particular, the ‘encaustic’ technique (that of applying colour mixed with hot wax to a polished surface) served to preserve and enhance the translucent quality of the marble.58 However, still very little is known about the nature of ancient expertise in painting sculpture (unlike expertise in marble sculpting), and it is perhaps to the fine but imaginative reconstructions of the nineteenth century that we must turn to best visualize the potential for the professional deployment of coloured finishes on marble statuary. John Gibson, whose celebrated Tinted Venus (plate 12) caused a sensation when it was displayed at the London International Exhibition of 1862 for its strikingly realistic nudity, defended his decision to colour his piece with the argument that
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‘a cold white statue would . . . have appeared incomplete to that people [the Greeks]’.59
REALISM

Viewers in the modern West are conditioned both to expect and to accept monochrome marble figures with white hair, white skin and white eyeballs. This is – in part – a consequence of neo-classical aesthetics: some of the most iconic and memorable items of post-medieval sculpture display unblemished white marble surfaces.60 And yet this is an artistic aesthetic that (at face value) is categorically abstract and incongruous with the principles of classical realism. A monochrome marble figure fractures the fundamental relationship between art and reality: a white statue of Augustus does not populate the world of the living. Colour, then, circumvents this problem. Colour provides the finish that brings the sculpture to life, that produces – as they could sometimes be described in a range of ancient discourses – ‘living images’ on the ambiguous line between the real and the imaginary (Greek zoa or Latin spirantia signa, to take two ¯ suggestive categories).61 Public statues ‘intermingled’ with the world of the living, and painted relief sculpture could be seen to recreate mythic scenes that were so lifelike that viewers believed they had really happened.62 In the third or fourth century CE, Kallistratos described the preparation of a Parian marble statue of a Maenad in such a way as to render it almost alive and depart from the law (nomos) that normally governs stone: ‘what one saw was really an image, but art (techne) carried imitation (mimesis) over into reality’.63 This idea had also ¯ ¯ been explored by Plato: a section of the Republic comparing the correctly painted statue to the correctly organized state draws attention to the role of colour in achieving mimesis:
It is as if someone were to approach us as we were painting a statue and criticize us, saying that we did not apply the most beautiful pigments to the most beautiful parts of the image. For the eyes, which are the most beautiful part have not been painted with purple but with black. We should reasonably reply to him, ‘My dear friend, do not expect us to paint the eyes so fine that they will not be like eyes at all, nor the other parts, but observe whether or not by assigning what is appropriate (ta prosekonta) to each part, we make the whole beautiful’.64 ¯

Ancient discussions of art tended to lay great emphasis on the controlled and sober use of ‘correct’ pigments for imitation and representation.65 For contemporary philosophers, paints were artificial surfaces and therefore any connection with the underlying object was arbitrary; the sheer diversity of artificial paints, pigments and dyes exacerbated this difficulty, and the threat it posed to the relationship between perception and understanding. Artistic and poetic colours were sometimes considered incompatible: qualities of colour in Greek verse such as ‘rosy-fingered’ (rhododaktulos), for example, could hardly be reproduced by the painter using ‘rose dye’ (rhodeon chroma).66 One solution to the logical problem ¯ posed by paints was to aim to use the ‘correct’ colour (so, in crude terms, make art ‘veristic’). Thus Plato’s analogy between the painting of a statue and the organization of the state draws attention to the importance of applying the correct colours to the correct parts of the image.67 The accurate alignment of artistic 440
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colours with the categories of poetic ekphrasis was also a central concern of Lucian’s account of the painting of the ‘ideal statue’ at Imagines 7–8 (above p. 437). This emphasis on using the proper colours in art, on imitating, copying and reproducing visible physical objects, goes some way to explaining the intensity of the Greco-Roman debate on mixing and on using pure colours.68 This is one of the reasons why the simple fourcolour palette (connected by some to the elemental tetrads of early Greek philosophy or the four humours of Hippocratic medicine) was so warmly embraced by a range of ancient moral and philosophical writers, with simple colours and colour-mixtures corresponding straightforwardly and accurately to the objects that were 13 Reconstruction of the bronze head of a boy being represented.69 The artist was an with a victor’s fillet, c. CE 20. Munich: Staatliche ‘imitator’ (mimetes), and his objective Antikensammlung und Glyptothek (inv. 457). ¯¯ . was to replicate a head, eyes, hair, Photo: Renate Kuhling. tunic, weapons using appropriate and realistic colours. Great effort was applied to correlating appropriate colours with the subject matter of the sculpture. The marble statue of ‘Venus in Bikini’ from Pompeii shows the goddess, her pale skin represented by the largely unpainted white marble, with jewellery and skimpy accoutrements represented by gilding and metal ornamentation applied directly on to the marble.70 Silver alloys could be used to evoke the pallid flesh of female subjects or figures that were dying, and bronze was regularly used to render the tanned flesh of nude gods, athletes or warriors.71 The first-century BCE bronze seated boxer at the Museo Nazionale Romano (inv. 1055) has copper inlays inserted into grooves and channels across his body, reproducing dripping blood and bruising after his fight.72 Indeed, recent scholarship has drawn attention to the realism and sophistication of chromatic variegation in bronze statuary (plate 13), as well as its evaluation in classical ekphrasis.73 This emphasis on the accurate representation of life pervades a wide range of classical art. Pliny the Elder comments (Natural History 35.4) that the painting of portraits (imaginum pictura) was the traditional means by which Roman art could transmit through the ages the closest likenesses of people’s faces, although he complains that this practice had by his time died out so that imagines had become homogenized and stereotyped. The use of clay models sometimes attested in the production of sculpture (including the technique of ‘casting from life’), as well as the ancestral portraits that lined the atrium of aristocratic Roman houses, point to the importance of preserving precise features
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in representations.74 Painted masks were also used in ancient theatre, their colours rigidly schematized so that particular character-types possessed the facial colours that typically defined them (red-haired barbarian slave, pale noblewoman, tanned peasant, etc.).75 This principle of colour-coding to reproduce (and reinforce) a stereotyped reality is a defining characteristic of many items of painted marble sculpture: tanned warriors, pale females, red-haired barbarians, and so on.76 This argument that sculptural colours were ‘coded’ to represent reality (or at least a version of reality) is quite different from that adopted by Elena WalterKarydi that coloristic effects were what really mattered in painting sculpture.77 It also differs from Valentina Manzelli’s argument (rooted in various strands of anthropological enquiry) that seeks layers of ‘colour symbolism’ in the choice of colours: black/blue as a celestial and male colour versus red as a chthonic and female colour, for example.78 ‘Colour symbolism’ implies that colours exist in their own right, independently of the objects which they qualify. An interpretation of sculptural polychromy in which colour is an extension of the underlying form, on the other hand, highlights the use of colour to qualify, identify and enrich the subject to which it is applied. This is not to say that sculptural colour straightforwardly reproduces reality: bold, super-natural colours could underwrite the ambiguity often inherent to representations of the human form in-the-round, an interpretation persuasively applied by Richard Gordon to GrecoRoman sculpture.79 The use of colour as a tool for artistic mimesis provides one explanation for the relative paucity of literary evidence on the practice. It was not the norm, we must assume, to talk about the painting of sculpture as if it were a separate and special part of the production process. Literary references were made to outstanding features of colour (Diana’s scarlet buskins, for example, or Cupid’s thousand-coloured quiver), special uses of pigments, or to an artist’s unusual attention to this particular aspect of sculpting (Pliny on Praxiteles), but the customary colouring of sculptural features rarely elicited comment. Furthermore, there was no straightforward chromatic register available with which to describe painted surfaces (there was no Greek or Latin equivalent to ‘pink’, ‘red’, ‘brown’, etc.). Ancient thinkers (and particularly those concerned with optics) generally considered colour (chroma or color) to be the primary object of sight, ¯ formulated as the surface (or ‘what is visible’) of an object, rather than a separate entity that existed in its own right.80 Mimesis, then, was an intrinsic concern in the production of classical art, and the idea that every object should have its proper, telltale colour was an axiom of ancient thought.
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A classical landscape of painted statues probably had more in common with a waxworks museum than the high art of a modern cast gallery. Indeed, the aesthetic of trompe-l’oeil (‘trick of the eye’) – whereby the object represented participates in the world occupied by the viewer – is one logical consequence of artistic mimesis, and one for which the use of colour, and all the various surfaces and attachments outlined above, was integral. Colour, therefore, disguised the materiality of the sculpture and by doing so obscured the line between art and reality. The result was a second population within the ancient city, intermingling 442
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with the living and sharing their iconography, values and history. The possibilities, uncertainties and discomfort generated by this ambiguity between art and life provided a fertile ground for exploration in a wide range of artistic and literary discourses.81 Representations of sculpture in ancient painting, and particularly the rich wall-paintings of Pompeii and other key Roman sites, offer a rich source of information about the appearance, context and distribution of ancient sculpture.82 And yet, it can sometimes be very difficult to distinguish a statue from a living figure in an ancient artistic representation. A small handful of examples can be cited which unambiguously appear to depict statues, either because of their position in the scene, or because a statue is in the process of being completed, or because it exhibits characteristics that are ‘statuesque’, such as a statue base, miniature dimensions, stiff pose or manifestly material features. On the whole, however, images of classical statues tended to force the viewer to question whether the figure was real or artificial. The ambiguous representation of figures was in fact a primary motif in all styles of Pompeian wall-painting; plate 14 shows a female painter, herself a figure in a framed painting, comparing a painted statue – perhaps Priapus – to a framed painting at her feet (which of the two she is about to paint is left deliberately unclear). Ambiguous figural art was a particular characteristic of garden-paintings, in which painted statues stared back as if they might at any moment spring to life.83 The degree to which statues in these paintings faithfully reproduce the appearance, position and reception of real statues is the subject of some debate, although it must be taken as axiomatic that the painters were exploiting and parading an existing sculptural aesthetic that challenged the division between art and life.84 To a certain extent, these representations belonged to the provocative realm of illusionism in which the artist could deploy and explore creative uses of stance, weight, material and colour. Take, for example, the painting of the statue of Mars in the House of Venus Marina at Pompeii (see plate 15).85 This armed figure, nude apart from a red cloak that hangs down his back, is predominantly white (presumably an indication of the marble out of which the statue is carved), although the features of his face are painted. With the skin coloration and the pedestal, he is clearly intended to look like a real garden statue, and yet his helmet plume is organic and unstatuesque, and the figure stands in contrapposto, tilting to its right so far without props or struts that a real stone statue could not stand upright.86 By merging the statuesque and the lifelike in this way, then, the painter presented a playful and provocative interplay of art and life. Another example of such representational ambiguity is the six ‘pilaster’-herms of satyrs and maenads that form part of the painted architecture in the House of the Cryptoporticus (VI.17.42): statuesque as they are, rooted fast in their architectural scaffolding, the delicately painted faces with their wispy realistic hair stare out at the viewer as if they were living.87 Indeed, Campanian art is rife with ambiguous representations of statuesque figures. Of course, in order to evoke this ambiguity between art and life, the painter needed to capture elements of the statuesque as much as he used the palette to bring his figures to life.88 It is not enough simply to say that the painted statue imitated (and interchanged with) reality: the materiality of art constituted a visual discourse in itself, and the theme of the
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14 Wall-painting from the House of the Surgeon, Pompeii VI.1.10, showing a female painter observing a framed painting and a painted statue (c. CE 55–79). Naples: Museo Archeologico Nazionale (inv. 9018). Photo: Sopraintendenza Archeologica di Pompeii.

15 Detail of wall-painting showing Statue of Mars in the House of Venus Marina at Pompeii (II.3.3). Photo: Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompeii.

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fantastical that transcended both art and reality was a familiar playing field in the domain of wall-painting.89 One specific context in which sculpture functioned explicitly as a substitute for the real thing, and therefore in which ambiguities between art and reality had a highly fertile ground for formation and exploitation, was the representation of cult statues.90 Statues of divinities were erected inside shrines and temples both embodying and standing in proxy for the gods who were supposed to live there, and it is unsurprising to find that literary accounts frequently elide the distinction between deity and image of deity, and visual representations of cult statues within sacred buildings (on coins, vases and wall-paintings, for example) 16 Apulian terracotta column-krater (bowl for creatively exploit these ambiguities.91 mixing wine and water), c. 360–350 BCE, showing It is sometimes difficult to decide an artist painting a lion-skin on a marble statue whether it is the statue that is being of Heracles. One of his assistants is heating a described or depicted, or the divinity charcoal brazier, suggesting the use of the itself. In some representations, this encaustic technique. New York: Metropolitan very difficulty of distinguishing art Museum of Art (Rogers Fund, 1950 (50.11.4)). from reality is playfully explored and Photo: r Metropolitan Museum of Art. paraded by the image: a well-known fourth-century BCE Apulian columnkrater (plate 16) depicts an artist painting the lion-skin of an unpainted statue of Heracles while the real Heracles looks on, inviting an expectation that the statue will be identical to the hero himself when the painter has completed his task.92 Once a cult statue is painted, clothed, armed and garlanded, it creates the impression of the real god or hero standing around in the city and participating in human life. At the same time, such representations could never be straightforwardly ‘naturalistic’: gods and heroes existed in the ancient mind as figures both reminiscent of mortals and at the same time fundamentally distinct from them. They were often larger-than-life and exhibited certain characteristics that one might term ‘unnaturalistic’: bold intense colours, for example, or a radiant glow produced by reflective materials like gold, marble and ivory and manipulated by reflective pools, polished floors, or lighting and shadow inside temples.93 In addition, an interpretation of sculptural polychromy based on ‘realism’ need not be static, reductivist or unilinear: one must accept that meaning was born out of a dialogue between object and viewer and that multiple interpretations were possible.94 This playful (and sometimes provocative) oscillation between the sculpture and the living figure represented by the sculpture was a well-established literary
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topos, and the notion that a master sculptor could bring his subject literally to life was a familiar motif in the classical imagination. Hephaestus and Daedalus created figures out of clay and metal with such skill that they came to life, mythological prototypes for a long list of Greco-Roman stories about ‘living statues’.95 The eroticism of classical sculpture is a familiar playing-field for art-historical discussion: the phenomenon of ‘agalmatophilia’ is most evocatively represented by the story of the Cypriot sculptor Pygmalion, who falls in love with an ivory statue he has made, and after prayers to Aphrodite the statue turns to flesh and comes alive.96 In the third century, the Elder Philostratus wrote several Imagines (‘descriptions of images’) which playfully animated the sculptural figures he was describing. One of these (2.1) concerned a painting in which a statue of Venus was depicted: Philostratus evokes the painter’s skill by treating the image of the sculpture as an image of the goddess herself—‘the goddess does not want to seem painted, but she stands out as though one could seize her’. The implication is that colour was the medium by which the skilled artist could blur the distinction between art and reality.
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The deployment of colour on sculpture to blur, confuse or collapse the distinction between art and life is by no means the artistic preserve of ancient Greece and Rome. The story of ancient polychrome sculpture is one that is embedded in patterns of sculptural representation in the Mediterranean from Pharaonic Egypt to the Greco-Roman and Byzantine worlds, through Medieval Europe and the Renaissance and Baroque periods, and which continues to perform a significant and polyvalent role in the modern world. In 2008, the J. Paul Getty Museum hosted an exhibition called ‘The Color of Life: Polychromy in Sculpture from Antiquity to the Present’, which juxtaposed many of the painted classical reconstructions that had been displayed in exhibitions across Europe and America since 2003 to a wide variety of medieval and modern polychrome sculptures. This exhibition demonstrated above all the role of colour in negotiating the complex interplay between sculptural art and life.97 Evidence from Eastern art suggests that the use of polychrome sculpture to animate artistic form was not restricted to the aesthetic discourses of the West: the 8,099 figures of the celebrated terracotta army buried (c. 210 BCE) with the Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang, for example, were originally intricately painted to be as lifelike as possible and carried real weapons, to give the appearance of a real army guarding the emperor’s body.98 In addition, Indian, ancient Near-Eastern and Egyptian sculptures are also observed to have been brightly painted, so that ancestors, heroes and gods appeared to participate in the world of the living.99 Polychrome sculpture in the ancient Mediterranean has informed and influenced a wide variety of medieval and modern art and architecture, in Europe and beyond. Even the leading Renaissance sculptors who are credited with establishing an aesthetic of monochrome sculpture sometimes produced polychrome pieces: Michelangelo, for example, produced Crucifix (Florence: Santo Spirito, 1492–94), a lifelike painted wooden figure of Christ on the cross, Donatello produced a number of statues using painted features and gilding to render them more realistic, and it is known that Bernini’s celebrated marble and travertine 446
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Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (1648–51) in Piazza Navona had certain features painted by the artist Guidubaldo Abbatini, although no traces survive today.100 Recent years have seen a great deal of art-historical interest in Romanesque and Gothic cathedral architecture, and major laser-cleaning projects have led to a radical reinterpretation of the striking role of sculptural polychromy on cathedrals such as those at Amiens, Poitiers and Notre-Dame, not only for internal sculpture, but also on their monumental facades. It has long been observed that wooden and stone sculpture inside medieval European churches was often elaborately painted, so that it appeared that the painted figures were staring inwards at the congregation, in the same way that figures on classical frieze and pedimental sculpture stared outwards at passers-by.101 Furthermore, the proliferation of wax museums with their coloured death-masks and life-like figurines since the late eighteenth century also emerged out of earlier practice: wax votive offerings in medieval churches around Europe, wax masks preserving the features of monarchs and nobles, and wax moulage for reproducing the internal organs of the body in various Renaissance anatomical schools. The idea of painted representations coming to life, an established theme in classical discourses, has also inspired a number of modern artistic, literary and dramatic stories: reinterpretations of Pygmalion, Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio, and countless novels and films in the genre of horror bring dummies, wax statues or inanimate figures to life (both generating and feeding off a range of modern psychological disorders related to the reproduction of the human form). Of course, in each of these contexts, sculptural polychromy performs various complex functions, and it would be a mistake to impose on to all of them a single privileged interpretation of the role of colour. This said, the ambiguous line between figural art and life, and the critical role of colour in negotiating that line, is embedded in many areas of Western culture. Many of these practices and discourses, it can now be convincingly argued, found their inspiration in the art of classical antiquity.
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I have argued that colour performed a fundamental role in transforming the appearance and impression of ancient marble sculpture: it made the sculpture more visible, legible and striking, it finished the marble in such a way as to produce subtle and sophisticated effects, it transformed the sculpture into a realistic representation of life, and allowed the artist to blur the distinction between art and life. Furthermore, coloured reconstructions of marble sculpture need no longer be arbitrary or tribute to an art historian’s imagination: recent research has allowed us to make serious advances in the study of particular pieces of ancient sculpture. With this in mind, this article will conclude with a ‘test-run’ of some of the ideas and principles surrounding sculptural polychromy applied to the analysis of a single piece of ancient sculpture: the Prima Porta Augustus. With extensive pigments so accurately identified and precisely reconstructed, the art historian cannot and should not look at the Prima Porta Augustus in the same way again. Colour transforms the statue on artistic, iconographic and psychological grounds. The Prima Porta Augustus is a 2.04 m high marble statue of the emperor which was discovered in the Villa of Livia at Prima Porta, nine miles outside Rome.
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It is an example of exquisite workmanship in Parian marble, a brilliant stone imported from the Aegean and long valued for its fine grain and translucency.102 Perhaps commissioned in CE 15 after Augustus’ death, the statue is believed to be a marble replica of a bronze original that was voted to Augustus by the Senate in 20 BCE and set up in public space at Rome. It appears to show Augustus as a victorious general making a speech, carrying an object (perhaps a spear, now lost) in his left hand and stretching out his right hand in a gesture of adlocutio. He poses in contrapposto, with his right leg extended forward and his left leg bent and heel slightly raised: the artist has captured him in medias res. His cuirass depicts various deities, including the emperor’s patron deity Apollo, along with the personifications of the territories he has recently conquered: Hispania, Gaul, Germania and – most importantly – Parthia (or the Parthian king Phraates IV), who is shown returning the stolen standards to a Roman commander (Tiberius, perhaps). At the top of the cuirass, various cosmic deities (normally identified as Caelus, Sol and Aurora) illuminate Augustus’ achievements, and at the bottom Tellus, holding a cornucopia, underwrites the prosperity and resources that the emperor has brought to Rome. At the right heel of the statue, a small Cupid riding a dolphin parades the genealogical link between the Julian family and Venus. The statue displays a series of thinly veiled references to Augustus’ divine qualities (in CE 14 he was officially deified by the state): the bare feet, the larger-than-life frame, the juxtaposition of Cupid, the idealized Apolline features of his face. By merging Classical and Hellenistic heroic qualities with Roman military and political prowess and achievement, the statue celebrates the emperor’s exceptional role as champion of pax Romana, and at the same time cosmocrat over the civilized world, a figure worthy of being raised to the level of the Olympic deities.103 So much for the significance of the Prima Porta’s sculpted detail, which is well-trodden territory in discussions of Roman art and the Augustan ‘power of images’. But what of the colour? Perhaps because of its relatively late discovery in 1863, and the conditions in which it was preserved, the Prima Porta Augustus retained many visible traces of colour on its clothing, hair and details of the eyes and the armour.104 In the heyday of nineteenth-century art-historical interest in sculptural polychromy, it inspired a number of colourful reconstructions, the most significant being that of Ludwig Fenger in 1886.105 Following a careful cleaning in 1999 which brought back to light many traces of colour that had faded, the Vatican Museums, led by Paolo Liverani, systematically identified and documented traces of six or seven across the original artefact, allowing – at least on a technical level – the most accurate reconstruction yet to be made using a plaster cast (plate 1). How, then, can this reconstruction enrich our interpretation of the original artefact? There can be no doubt that the painted Prima Porta Augustus was a striking addition to Livia’s villa.106 At 2.04 metres it was – just about – larger-than-life, its claim to ‘naturalism’ already provocatively challenged by its godlike stature. But the colours applied to its surfaces carried this ambiguity one step further, simultaneously asserting and denying that the statue was alive: the expensive pigments used (particularly red cinnabar and Egyptian blue) were both fast and loud, making the artefact – like many painted classical statues of heroes and divinities – highly conspicuous, both reproducing the naturalistic colours 448
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of the emperor’s eyes, hair and clothes, and simultaneously transcending those colours in an expression of divine perspicuity. The cost and value of these pigments were widely acknowledged, and it seems likely that they were chosen precisely because of their prestige and the honour they assigned to the subject. These bold colours distinguished individual features of the statue; no pigments have been identified on the flesh of the Prima Porta, or on the backdrop of the cuirass, and it can be supposed that the individual painted features stood out clearly against this background. Furthermore, a metal rod down the back of the statue, as well as the roughness of carving on the rear, suggests that the statue was displayed against a wall, which itself is likely to have been painted in such a way as to enhance the distinctive features of the piece. Divus Augustus, then, was meant to be noticed, still participating in the world occupied by the viewer but at the same time detached from it by his godlike appearance.107 Furthermore, colour finished the statue so that its constituent parts were executed and expressed in the most evocative and sophisticated ways possible. Colour, sometimes in fairly complex mixtures, furnished the Prima Porta Augustus with distinctive eyes, hair, clothes and accessories. And colour provided an additional – and critical – variable for the interpretation of the piece. The statue’s hair, which has received a great deal of scholarly attention from the point of view of portrait identification and Hellenistic idealization, was coated with a reddish-brown pigment, and is perhaps the one feature of the Liverani reconstruction that has been received with the greatest surprise and scepticism.108 According to Suetonius, Augustus’ hair was ‘bordering on blond’ (subflauus); quite what constituted ‘blond’ in ancient Italy is a matter of some debate, but it was a distinctive colour for heroes and divinities, particularly in Augustan literature.109 In particular, it was the colour attributed to Apollo, with whom Augustus had a special connection and who evoked Helios, light, knowledge, truth, purity, the Golden Age, and all those familiar trademarks of Augustan ideology.110 Furthermore, it is significant that the statue’s hair, and particularly its colour, is not that of an old man; post-mortem, Augustus takes on the appearance of youth and divinity. In a similar vein, the absence of any dark pigmentation on the emperor’s flesh may suggest that the artist exploited the natural colour of the stone to render the shine and pallor of Augustus’ skin, another feature that traditionally characterized divine appearance.111 Another significant feature of the Prima Porta statue on which extensive traces of an organic red pigment have been documented is the general’s paludamentum, the scarlet cloak traditionally worn by the imperator on the battlefield.112 Colour was a defining characteristic of this garment, which (along with the cuirass) signals the emperor’s military and political authority. Furthermore, this pigment, which was combined with a transparent lacquer, would have penetrated the crystalline surface of the translucent Parian marble (rather than just sitting on it) and may have caused the thin folds of the paludamentum to glow and catch the viewer’s eye. Traces of Egyptian blue identified on the fringes of Augustus’ tunic most likely represent the purple murex dye that distinguished Roman political authority: in an image that merged so many different aspects of contemporary public life
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and ideology, the juxtaposition of such key schematic Roman colours serves to reinforce the various strands of association and symbolism evoked by the Prima Porta.113 Various pigments identified on the facial hair and garments of the Parthian king on Augustus’ cuirass allowed the artist to distinguish the barbarian’s beard and multicoloured trousers, setting him in sharp cultural contrast to the smooth-shaven Roman commander who is receiving the standards. Colour, then, drew attention to the sculpture’s outstanding physical features. With a nuanced understanding of the cultural importance of blond hair, pale skin or purple garments, then, it allows us to enrich our evaluation and understanding of the work of art. Furthermore, the Prima Porta was an artefact that did not simply elicit a single privileged interpretation at one point in time: there is evidence that the statue underwent at least one restoration in antiquity and – with multiple layers of pigment identified on the fringes of the tunic and on parts of the breastplate – it is likely that it was also repainted using different colours, so that its significance as a work of art and as a representation of Rome’s first emperor was organic, subjective and interactive.114 Finally, in a manner reminiscent of cult statues, colour brought the statue to life, propelling the deceased emperor back into the world of the living. Colour made the statue’s hair hair-coloured, eyes eye-coloured, lips lip-coloured and so on, using a palette that both imitated real life and transcended it by means of its vivid colours. For visitors to Livia’s villa, the statue created the impression that Augustus was watching over them, still participating in their lives in a way that a monochrome statue would not. Although its statue base, bold colours and larger-than-life proportions set the figure apart from mortals and marked it out instantly as a work of art, the idealized, heroicized, triumphant Divus Augustus, with all his features and accoutrements meticulously and appropriately finished off in colour, appeared to onlookers precisely as if he was really there.

Notes

This article has developed out of ideas explored in my doctoral thesis ‘Concepts of colour in ancient Rome’ (University of Cambridge, 2004) and my book Colour and Meaning in Ancient Rome (Cambridge, forthcoming 2009), and developed in papers delivered to the Classics Research Workshop at the University of Nottingham in February 2005 and the University of Texas at Austin in February 2007. Many individuals have influenced and guided my research in this area: in particular, I would like to thank Mary Beard, Vinzenz Brinkmann, Penelope Davies, Paolo Liverani, Robin Osborne and two anonymous Art History readers for their helpful advice and suggestions, and Jan Østergaard and Caroline Vout for their generous help in refining earlier versions of this article. In addition, I am grateful to the Arts and Humanities Research Council for providing the funding that has enabled me to complete this work, and to Maria Pia Malvezzi at the British School at Rome for her invaluable assistance with the images. All translations in this paper are my own. 450
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The Amazon head, discovered during the work of the Herculaneum Conservation Project (British School at Rome/Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompeii/Packard Humanities Institute), is now on display in the Museo Nazionale at Naples. The discovery was reported in The Times (25 March 2006 as ‘Statue reveals Roman lady with her make-up still on’ (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,135092102022,00.html, accessed October 2008). The initial exhibitions of painted casts were: Bunte Gotter (Munich Staatliche Antikensammlung ¨ und Glyptothek, 2003–2004); I colori del bianco (Vatican Museums, Rome, 2004); ClassiColor (Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, 2004). Versions of the display have also been exhibited in Basel, Amsterdam, Istanbul, Athens, Hamburg and Frankfurt, and in America as Gods in Color (Arthur M. Sackler Museum, 2007– 8) and part of The Color of Life exhibition (J. Paul Getty Museum, 2008). This truly international initiative was the first major exhibition of sculptural polychromy in over a century. An important symposium, ‘Rediscovering color: new perspectives on polychrome sculpture’, was held at the J. Paul Getty Museum at Malibu in May 2008. On the Winckelmann aesthetic, see Antonio Pinelli, ‘Winckelmann e il problema del bianco’, Archeo Dossier, 29, 1987, 21–4; Miranda Marvin, The language of the Muses: the dialogue between Greek and Roman sculpture, Los Angeles, 2008, c. 6. One significant exception is Brunilde Ridgway’s essay ‘How: the role of color’ in Prayers in Stone: Greek Architectural Sculpture ca. 600–100 B.C., Berkeley, 1999, 103–42. On the choice, colour and associations of marbles for ancient sculpture, see Rolf Schneider, Bunte Barbaren, Worms, 1986; Marilda De Nuccio and Lucrezia Ungaro, eds, I marmi colorati della Roma imperiale (Exhibition Catalogue), Rome, 2002; Mark Bradley, ‘Colour and marble in early imperial Rome’, Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society, 52, 2002, 1–22. On modern techniques for pigment identification and reconstruction, see esp. Vinzenz Brinkmann, ‘Research in the polychromy of ancient sculpture: introduction to the exhibition’, in Vinzenz Brinkmann and Raimund . Wunsche, eds, Gods in Color: Painted Sculpture of Classical Antiquity, Munich, 2007, 20–7. For the potential of electronic databases, see Valentina Manzelli, La policromia nella statuaria greca arcaica, Rome, 1994; cf. Ridgway, Prayers in Stone, 104–5. Most of the work focuses on the Archaic period, for which the clearest evidence survives: so Elena Walter-Karydi, ‘Prinzipien der archaischen Farbgebung’, in Karin Braun and A. Furtw. ngler, eds, Studien zur klassischen Archa . ologie: Festschrift F. Hiller, Saarbrucken, 1986, 23–37; Manzelli, La policromia; Brinkmann, Die

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. Polychromie der archaischen und fruhklassischen Skulpturen, Munich, 2003; see also Ridgway, Prayers in Stone, esp. 104–5; 110–14. My forthcoming monograph Colour and Meaning in Ancient Rome discusses literary and philosophical aspects of colour usage in early imperial Rome. For a full nineteenth- and twentieth-century bibliography on the subject, see Ridgway, Prayers in Stone, 103–7 and Brinkmann, ‘Research in the polychromy of ancient sculpture’. So Olga Palagia, ed., Greek Sculpture: Function, Materials and Techniques in the Archaic and Classical Periods, Cambridge, 2006, 261 and 275 n. 82. Blue pigment was normally used for backgrounds, perhaps (it has been suggested) in imitation of the sky: for examples and discussion, see Ridgway, Prayers in Stone, esp. 110–11; Palagia, Greek Sculpture, 275 n. 83; WalterKarydi, ‘The coloring of the relief background in Archaic and Classical Greek sculpture’, in . Brinkmann and Wunsche, Gods in Color, 172–7. Palagia, Greek Sculpture, 261–2 for examples. See also Pausanias 10.14.4; 18.7. Further on gilding, see Patrik Reutersw. rd, Studien zur Polychromie a der Plastik: Griechenland und Rom, Stockholm, 1960, 245–7, who connects the practice in particular to the Hellenistic ruler cult and associates it in particular with mid- and lateimperial Roman sculpture; Arnold Lawrence, Greek and Roman Sculpture, London, 1972, 34–5. Brigitte Bourgeois and Philippe Jockey, ‘La ˆ dorure des marbres grecs: nouvelle enquete sur ´ ´ la sculpture hellenistique de Delos’, Journal des Savants, 2005, 253–316. For more detail on metal attachments, see Ridgway, ‘Metal attachments in Greek marble sculpture’, in Marble: Art Historical and Scientific Perspectives on Ancient Sculpture, Malibu, 1990. For examples, see also Claude Rolley, La sculpture grecque (Vol. 1: Des origines au milieu du Ve ` siecle), Paris, 1994, 78–81; Palagia, Greek Sculpture, 262; on inlaid eyes in bronze statues, see Carol Mattusch, Classical Bronzes: The ARt and Craft of Greek and Roman Statuary, Ithaca and London, 1996, 24 and n. 26 for references. From the principate of Hadrian onwards, the iris, pupil and eyebrows were usually carved directly on to the stone, perhaps to provide clearer guidelines for the painter. See n. 3. Cf. also Pliny, Natural History 35.3 on the practice under Nero, called lapidem pingere, of further embellishing coloured marbles by painting on additional colours and patterns: on this, see Bradley, Colour and Meaning, Cambridge, 2009, c. 3. So Bernard Ashmole, Architect and Sculptor in Classical Greece, New York, 1972, 60 on the temple of Zeus at Olympia. Cf. also Rolley, La sculpture grecque, 82 and Brinkmann, ‘The funerary monument of Aristion’, in Brink-

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. mann and Wunsche, Gods in Color, 60–5; Ridgway, Prayers in Stone, 113 on the Siphnian Treasury at Delphi. So Lawrence, Greek and Roman Sculpture, 33–4. See Brinkmann, ‘Farbigkeit der Terrakotten’, in Friedrich Hamdorf, ed., Hauch des Prometheus: Meisterwerke in Ton, Munich, 1996, 25–30. On bronze statuary, see Hermann Born, ‘Multicoloured antique bronze statues’, in Susan La Niece and Paul Craddock, eds, Metal Plating and Patination: Cultural, Technical and Historical Developments, Oxford, 1993, 19–29; Mattusch, ‘Classical bronzes’, 24–30; id. (2003) in Brinkmann . and Wunsche, eds, Bunte Gotter: die Farbigkeit ¨ antiker Skulptur, Munich, 2003, 126–31. See also Sophie Descamps-Lequime, ‘La polychromie des bronzes grecs et romains’ and Marion MullerDufeu, ‘Les couleurs du bronze dans les statues ` grecques d’apres les descriptions antiques’, in ` ` Agnes Rouveret et al., eds, Couleurs et matieres ´ dans l’antiquite: texts, techniques et pratiques, Paris, 2006, 79–102, on ancient artistic mimesis concerned with variegated bronze statues. For a good summary of classical and post-classical chryselephantine sculpture (including Egyptian and ancient Near-Eastern ivories), see Kenneth Lapatin, Chryselephantine Statuary in the Ancient Mediterranean World, Oxford, 2001, esp. 19–20. Cf. Pausanias 7.26.4: on ivory ‘decorated on the surface with gold and colours’. Cf. also Carolyn Connor, The Color of Ivory: Polychromy on Byzantine Ivories, Princeton, 1998, esp. c. 3 ‘The ancient tradition of polychrome ivories’. On evidence for the gilding and colouring of wood, see Lapatin, Chryselephantine Statuary, 19–20. See Hermann Phelps, Die farbige Architektur bei den Romern und in Mittelalter, Berlin, 1930. ¨ The limitations of current knowledge about ancient sculptural pigments are summarized well by Ridgway, Prayers in Stone, 107–8. See Ian Jenkins, ed., Cleaning and Controversy: The Cleaning of the Parthenon Sculptures 1811–1939 (BM Occasional Paper 146), London, 2001; Ridgway, Prayers in Stone, 115–18. For a detailed account of the tests, see Ian Jenkins and Andrew Middleton, ‘Paint on the Parthenon sculptures’, Annual of the British School at Athens, 83, 1988, 183–207. For discussion and references, see Brinkmann, ‘Girl or goddess? The riddle of the ‘‘Peplos Kore’’ from the Athenian Acropolis’, in Brink. mann and Wunsche, Gods in Color, 44–53. Brinkmann, Die Friese des Siphnierschatzhauses, Munich, 1994; see also Brinkmann ‘The weighing of the souls: painted names on the ‘‘Siphnian Treasury’’’, in Brinkmann and . Wunsche, Gods in Color, 54–9. On these and other early discoveries, see Ridgway, Prayers in Stone, 105–6; Brinkmann, ‘The prince and the goddess: the rediscovered color on the pediment statues of the Aphaia

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. Temple’, in Brinkmann and Wunsche, Gods in Color, 70–97. Many of these colour traces faded rapidly on contact with the air. For details and references, see Palagia, Greek Sculpture, esp. n. 82 on further recent evidence for painted marbles. On this piece as symptomatic of a fourthcentury BC development towards a more sophisticated palette and a broader cultural sensitivity to colours in general see Rolley, La sculpture grecque, 82; Ridgway, Prayers in Stone, ´ 122–3; Rouveret, ‘Les yeux pourpres: l’experience de la couleur dans la peinture classique ´ entre realite et fiction’, in Rouveret et al., ´ ` Couleurs et matieres, 17–28, esp. 17–24; Brecoulaki (2006). Further on this idea, see Brinkmann, ‘The blue eyes of the Persians: the colored sculpture of the time of Alexander and the Hellenistic period’, in Brinkmann and . Wunsche, Gods in Color, 150–67 and Heinrich . Piening, in Brinkmann and Wunsche, Gods in Color, 168–71. The most important study in the twentieth century was Reutersw. rd, Studien zur Polya chromie, esp. 181–242, who argued for significant continuities between sculptures in the Hellenistic East and those in early imperial Rome. For an excellent recent summary, see Jan Østergaard, ‘Emerging colors: Roman sculptural polychromy revived’, in Roberta Panzanelli, ed., The Color of Life: Polychromy in Sculpture from Antiquity to the Present, Los Angeles, 2008, 40–61. On a statue of Trajan with a star-studded mantle, see Brigitte FreyerSchauenburg, ‘Der Sternenmantel des Kaisers . Trajan’, in Brinkmann and Wunsche, Bunte Gotter, 212–15; on painted decorative features ¨ in the Aula del Colosso in the Forum of Augustus, see Lucrecia Ungaro and Maria Luisa Vitali, ‘Die bemalte Wandverkleidung der ‘‘Aula del Colosso’’ im Augustforum’, in Brink. mann and Wunsche, Bunte Gotter, 216–18. ¨ Under raking light, faint traces of paint have been detected on the Laocoon sculpture; see Bernard Andreae, Laokoon und die Grundung Roms, Mainz, 1988, esp. plates 13 and 40. For references and discussion, see pp. 34–41. On the Copenhagen Caligula, see Jan Østergaard, ‘Caligula in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen: reconstructing the polychromy of a Roman portrait’, in Brinkmann and . Wunsche, Gods in Color, 178–83; Heike Stege et al., ‘Pigment and binding medium analysis of the polychrome treatment of the marble bust of a Roman portrait’, in Brinkmann and . Wunsche, Gods in Color, 184–5; Brinkmann et al., ‘The coloration of the Caligula portrait’, in . Brinkmann and Wunsche, Gods in Color, 186–91. Most recently, see M. Del Monte et al., Traces of ancient colours on Trajan’s column’, Archaeometry, 40: 2, 1998, 403–12. See Dyfri Williams et al., ‘A virtual Parthenon metope: restoration and colour’, in Brinkmann
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. and Wunsche, Gods in Color, 112–17. Furthermore, Oliver Primavesi (Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich) is undertaking a systematic project to collect literary resources for polychrome sculpture. Although one must expect a certain margin of error in these reconstructions: Brinkmann and . Wunsche, Bunte Gotter, figs 158a–b, 177–8, 242 ¨ and 247 show different reconstructions of the same sculpture. For resistance to the intense colours of the recent exhibitions, see the responses to Mary Beard’s blog entry ‘Were ancient statues painted?’ (December 2007) http://timesonline. typepad.com/dons_life/2007/12/were-ancient-st. html (accessed November 2008). On developments in sculptural polychromy between the Archaic and the Classical periods see Ridgway, Prayers in Stone, 114; between the Classical and Hellenistic/Roman periods, Reutersw. rd, a Studien zur Polychromie, esp. 181–242. Brinkmann, ‘The coloring of Archaic and early Classical sculpture’, in Brinkmann and . Wunsche, Gods in Color, 28–43. So also Ridgway, Prayers in Stone, 103–4. See Brinkmann, ‘The prince and the goddess’, . in Brinkmann and Wunsche, Gods in Color, 70–97. Georg Treu, ‘Die technische Herstellung und Bemalung der Giebelgruppen am olympischen Zeustempel’, Jahrbuch des kaiserlich Deutschen Archaeologischen Instituts, 10, 1895, 1–35, esp. 25– 35; cf. Rolley, La sculpture grecque, 83 on the use of blue–red contrasts here; cf. Ridgway, Prayers in Stone, 114–15. As Ridgway, Prayers in Stone, 117–18. Cf. Rolley, La sculpture grecque, 83 on light and dark materials on the Erechtheum. The use of dark limestone for visual contrast in Greek architecture has been explored by Lucy Shoe, ‘Dark stone in Greek architecture’, Hesperia Supplements, vol. 8, 1949, 341–482. Lawrence, Greek and Roman Sculpture, 34. Ridgway, Prayers in Stone, 126–7 suggests that the use of colours on architectural backgrounds may have been influenced by the stage sets of the ancient theatre. So Ashmole, Architect and Sculptor, 26. This is also the line adopted by Ridgway, Prayers in Stone, 113–14, who argues that colours in the Archaic period ‘are not meant to reflect nature but to provide contrast and legibility’. Cf. Jeremy Tanner, ‘Nature, culture and the body in Classical Greek religious art’, World Archaeology 33 (‘Archaeology and Aesthetics’), 2001, 257–76, esp. 260 on cultural relativism in naturalistic perceptions of the world. One should also consider the type of background against which a statue would be viewed: the painted backdrop of a Pompeian house, for example, would make these figures far less startling than (for example) the neutral background of the Munich Glyptothek. See

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. Brinkmann and Wunsche, Bunte Gotter, figs. 12, ¨ 21 vs. 19–20. Virgil, Aeneid 1.586–93. This passage imitates Homer, Odyssey 23.156– 63, where Athene imbues Odysseus with divine beauty, although this simile is restricted to the gilding of silver and there is no mention of the adornment of ivory or marble. Euripides, Helen 262–3. For an excellent interpretation of sculptural imagery in this play, see Deborah Steiner, Images in Mind: Statues in Archaic and Classical Greek Literature and Thought, Princeton, 2002, 54–6, esp. n. 155 where she examines the meaning of these lines. On Lucian’s subversion of the traditional philosophical doctrines about sight and knowedge, see Isabelle Gassino, ‘Voir et savoir: ´ les difficultes de la connaissance chez Lucien’, in Laurence Villard, ed., Couleurs et vision dans ´ l’antiquite classique, Rouen, 2002, 167–77. I have also discussed this passage in Bradley, ‘Colour and marble’, 17–18. See Brinkmann, ‘Armor on the naked skin? The early Classical ‘‘Cuirass-Torso’’ from the Athe. nian Acropolis’, in Brinkmann and Wunsche, Gods in Color, 100–5 on a Classical torso in the Acropolis Museum at Athens (inv. 599), where paint alone distinguishes a muscled cuirass from a muscled body. [Virgil], Catalepton 14.9–10. Mille colores marked out its subject matter as divinely imbued: see Bradley, Colour and Meaning, c. 1. Brinkmann, ‘Archaic and early Classical sculp. ture’, in Brinkmann and Wunsche, Gods in Color, 28–43. So also Ridgway, Prayers in Stone, 103–4. Theophrastus, De lapidibus and Pliny the Elder, Natural History book 35 devote no small space to identifying and evaluating the production and economy of individual pigments. On shared knowledge and appreciation of marble types among the educated metropolitan elite of early imperial Rome, see Bradley, ‘Colour and marble’. For several early modern analogies for such artistic collaboration, see p. 33. Cf. Palagia, Greek sculpture, 260–1 on rasps, incisions and contours applied to the stone by the sculptor to assist the work of the painter. Pliny, Natural History 35.133. Plutarch, De Gloria Atheniensium 6.438E (agalmaton egkaustai kai chrusotai kai bapheis). ¯ ¯ Inscriptiones Italiae 13.2 p. 205, 42, 13; Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum 6.7885 (politor eburarius); 6.9462a; 6.9820 6.34374a; 6.37818; 10.6638 C 2, 17; cf. Firmicus Maternus 4.14.20. For all references, see the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae s.v. ‘polior’, ‘politor’, ‘politio’, ‘politus’. Festus P.71M claims that all ancient accomplishments are called ‘politiones’. For polished sculpture, see Lucretius, De rerum natura 5.1451; Pliny, Natural History 36.52; 36.54; 36.152; Apuleius, Metamorphoses 4.32.2; Ammianus

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Marcellinus 16.10.8; Prudentius, Contra Symmachum 1.348; Varro, De re rustica 1.2.10; Cicero, Ad Quintum fratrem 3.1.1; Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum 1.3025 [Ostia, first century BCE] ‘portic(um) poliend(am). . .curauit’; Vitruvius 7.1.4. For the aesthetic transformation of polished marbles, see Bradley, ‘Colour and marble’, 5–8, 16–18. For example, Brinkmann in Brinkmann and . Wunsche, Bunte Gotter, 40. Multiple layers of ¨ colour have been detected on the stele of Aristogeiton and on the fringes of the Prima Porta statue. Repainting perhaps also assisted in the reuse of marble spolia for new sculptural programmes, by smoothing over joins and permitting the expression of new features: e.g. the Hadrianic roundels of the Arch of Constantine. For evidence of cleaning and treating, see Inscriptiones Graecae 4.840; Pliny, Natural History 34.99; Pausanias 1.15.4; cf. Plutarch, De Pythiae oraculis 395.2–4. On ‘ganosis’, see Vitruvius 7.9.3–4; Pliny, Natural History 33.122; Plutarch, Natural Questions 287D; Lawrence, Greek and Roman Sculpture, 35–6; Manzelli, La policromia, 101–15, 278; Rolley, La sculpture grecque, 82; Palagia, Greek Sculpture, 260–1. For a concise survey of the surface finishing of Greek statues, see Andrew Stewart, Greek Sculpture: An Exploration, New Haven, 1990, 40–2. See also John Pollini et al., Parian lychnites and the Prima Porta statue: new scientific tests and the symbolic value of the marble’, Journal of Roman Archaeology, 11, 1998, 275–84 on the Prima Porta Augustus. Plutarch, Moralia 74E. This passage is discussed in detail in Ernst Gombrich, ‘Dark varnishes, variations on a theme from Pliny’, Burlington Magazine, 104, 1962, 51–5. Cf. Vitruvius 7.7.1 on sil (a form of ‘yellow’ earth), regularly used for the politio of Greco-Roman sculpture. On the importance of the aesthetics of the underlying stone even when it was painted, see Bradley, ‘Colour and marble’, esp. 10–11. On Praxiteles as a pioneer for the use of white marble for female nudes, see Boardman, Greek Sculpture, 13. See Reutersw. rd, Studien zur Polya chromie, 242–3 on subtle techniques for sculptural skin-toning using wax coatings. I thank Jan Østergaard for drawing my attention to these possibilities. On the encaustic technique, see Palagia, Greek Sculpture, 261. See Elizabeth Eastlake, The Life of John Gibson, R.A., Sculptor, London, 1870, 212; also on the Tinted Venus, see Panzanelli, Color of Life, 164. For other examples of nineteenth-century . reconstructions, see Wunsche (2004) in . Brinkmann and Wunsche, Bunte Gotter, 10–23, ¨ esp. figs 4, 7–10. A contrast observed by Peter Stewart, Statues in Roman Society: Representation and Response, Oxford, 2003, 37, and Ridgway, Prayers in Stone, 103–4.

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So John Boardman, Greek Sculpture: The Late Classical Period and Sculpture in Colonies and Overseas, London, 1995, 11–12; cf. Stewart, Statues in Roman Society, 93 on the painting of statues to imitate life. On the ambiguity of religious statuary, see Richard Gordon, ‘The real and the imaginary: production and religion in the Graeco-Roman world’, Art History, 2, 1979, 5–34, esp. 9–10 on the ambiguity of the language in which ancient statuary was described. For zoon see Herodotus 3.88; Plato, ¯ Republic 515a. For spirantia signa see Virgil, Georgics 3.34; Aeneid 6.847; Arnobius 6.16; cf. Martial 7.84.2 (spirat et arguta picta tabella manu); Propertius 2.31.7 on Myron’s statue group: quattuor artifices, uiuida signa, boues. Ashmole, Architect and Sculptor, 65. Kallistratos, Imagines 2.4. Plato, Republic 4.420C. For references and discussion of colour in Greek art within a philosophical context, see Bradley, Colour and Meaning, c. 2. Cf. Rouveret et ` al., Couleurs et matieres, for essays exploring various aspects of colour in artistic ekphrasis. So Ion of Chios (at Ath. 13.603E). Further on this poetic–artistic distinction, see James (1995) 62–3. Further on this passage, see Rouveret, ‘Les yeux pourpres’, 23. This idea recurs in Plato at Republic 2.377E; 586B-C; cf. Cratylus 424E–425B. On this idea, see Philostratus, Imagines 1.2; cf. Plutarch, Quaestiones conviviales 725C. On the four-colour palette, see Bradley, Colour ´ and Meaning, c. 2; Charikleia Brecoulaki, ´ ´ ‘Considerations sur les peintres tetrachromatistes et les couleurs austeri et floridi’, in ` Rouveret et al., Couleurs et matieres, 29–42. See for example Stewart, Statues in Roman Society, 247. Cf. Reutersw. rd, Studien zur Polya chromie, 245–7. So Plutarch, Quaestiones Conviviales 5.1.2 (with Boardman, Greek Sculpture, 12) on the use of silvered bronze to express the wasting expression of a dying Jocasta. The hair of bronze heads was often darkened with pigments. For discussion and further references, see Rolley, La sculpture grecque, 80–1. Mattusch, Classical bronzes, 24–30 provides a good outline of the various effects of bronze sculpture. Cf. Dio Chrysostom, Orationes 28.3 comparing a boxer’s skin-colour to that of wellblended bronze. Pliny, Natural History 34.98 on a bronze alloy mixed with Cypriot copper to render purple borders on the robes of statues. Cf. 34.140 on bronze imbued with rusting iron to create the effect of shame. On models in clay, plaster, wax and wood, see Palagia, Greek Sculpture, 262–3. Pliny, Natural History 35.153 discusses the sculptor Lysistratos’ creation of ‘life masks’ in plaster for the production of bronze portraits. He goes on
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(155–6) to describe plaster models used for Roman statuary. See David Wiles, Masks of Menander: Sign and Meaning in Greek and Roman Performance, Cambridge, 1991, esp. 74–80, 129–49 on recognized typologies of dramatic masks based on schematic hair and skin colours. On colourcoding in physiognomy and its relationship to theatre masks, see Bradley, Colour and Meaning, c. 5. See Rolley, La sculpture grecque, 83 and Ridgway, Prayers in Stone, 285–90 on painted Archaic fragments in the Persian depot on the Acropolis; id. (1999) 110 on gendered skin tones on the Lefkadia Kentauromachy; id. 122 on racial skin tones on the ‘Alexander Sarcophagus’. Walter-Karydi, ‘Prinzipien der archaischen Farbgebung’, esp. 31, 37. Cf. Ridgway, Prayers in Stone, 125 on early Greek sculpture. Manzelli, La policromia, 33–90. Gordon, ‘The real and the imaginary’, esp. 9–10. This idea of colour as ‘skin’ is explicitly formulated, for example, at Aristotle, De Sensu 439a6–440b25 and in Lucretius’ Epicurean optics: De rerum natura esp. 4.74–97. The ramifications this theory holds for broader issues and cultural differences in colour perception are explored in Bradley, Colour and Meaning, esp. c. 2. Finished statues and classical trompe-l’oeil are discussed by Stewart, Statues in Roman Society, 36–7 and 148–54. On Roman statues in wall-paintings, see Reutersw. rd, Studien zur Polychromie, esp. 182, a 242; Stewart, Statues in Roman Society, 214–21. The most thorough and comprehensive study remains Eric Moormann, La pittura parietale romana come fonte di conoscenza per la scultura antica, Assen/Maastricht, 1988, which catalogued nearly 350 examples of representations of sculpture in Roman wall-paintings. On colour, garden statues and trompe-l’oeil, see Reutersw. rd, Studien zur Polychromie, 207, 243. a Reviews of Moormann, La pittura parietale have particularly focused on this difficult question. This image is discussed in detail by Stewart, Statues in Roman Society, 38–40. . Cf. Andreas Gruner, Venus ordinis. Der Wandel von Malerei und Literatur im Zeitalter der romischen ¨ B. rgerkriege, Paderborn, 2004, 199, 203–4 on u lifelike caryatids in Augustan paintings, supporting a highly unrealistic entablature. Stewart, Statues in Roman Society, 40; cf. 221. For example, Moormann, La pittura parietale, cat. 217/19 on white pigment used to identify a silver statue of Aphrodite in the House of the Vettii at Pompeii. That said, Vitruvius, De architectura 7.5.3 complains about the disintegration of ‘ratio ueritatis’ in contemporary painting. See also . Gruner, Venus ordinis, 53.

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The provocative ambiguity of Greco-Roman cult statues has been comprehensively explored by Gordon, ‘The real and the imaginary’; for the relationship between naturalism and culture in Archaic and Classical Greek cult statuary, see Tanner, ‘Nature, culture and the body’; on Roman cult statues, see Stewart, Statues in Roman Society, c. 6.; Jas Elsner, Roman Eyes: Visuality and Subjectivity in Art and Text, Princeton, 2007, 247–51. Reutersw. rd, Studien zur Polychromie, 243 argues a that cult statues (as distinct from ‘decorative’ statues) present the most intense and unambiguous instances of sculptural polychromy. See Gordon, ‘The real and the imaginary’; Tanner, ‘Nature, culture and the body’, esp. 262–3. Cf. Vitruvius 4.5.1; 4.9 on cult statues gazing back at those who make vows and sacrifice; Pliny, Natural History 36.13 on the statue of Artemis on Chios, which appeared to visitors to change its expression; cf. Pausanias 8.37.7 (with Elsner, Roman Eyes, 289) on mirrors outside temple doors creating ambiguous reflections of cult images. On this image, see Rolley, La sculpture grecque, 82. Cf. Mattusch, Classical Bronzes, 24 on an early fourth-century BCE vase fragment depicting a life-like bronze cult-statue of Apollo inside a Doric temple, while the real Apollo sits outside. On the representation of statues on vases, see Monica De Cesare, Statue in immagine: studi sulle raffigurazioni di statue nella pittura vascolare greca, Roma, 1997. See for example the gilded face of Mithras Tauroctonos (fig. 7). Further on the radiant glow of cult images (alongside other visual, auditory and olfactory sensations), see Gordon, ‘The real and the imaginary’, 13; Tanner, ‘Nature, culture and the body’, 262. Tanner argues that the detached and unnaturalistic appearance of Archaic Athenian cult statuary (e.g. Archaic korai) ‘served primarily the status ´ interests of an aristocratic elite’ and that this gave way to the naturalism of Classical statuary as an artistic expression of the openness, interaction and accessibility that was concomitant with democratic culture; it would not be difficult to insert shifts in the naturalism of sculptural polychromy into this argument (although Tanner does not attempt to do so). So Elsner, ‘Cult and sculpture: sacrifice in the Ara Pacis Augustae’, Journal of Roman Studies, 81, 1991, 50–61., esp. 51 on the necessity for ‘additional, creative and subversive interpretations which images evoke in different viewers and at different times’. That meaning is always realized at the point of reception is also the line adopted by Marvin, The Language of the Muses, esp. c. 9 ‘Roman ideal sculpture’. On Hephaestus, see Homer, Iliad 18.373–9, 417–21. On Daedalus, Marion Muller-Dufeu, ed., ´ La sculpture grecque: sources litteraires et ´pigrae phiques, Paris, 2002, nos 80–150.

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This story is memorably described at Ovid, Metamorphoses 10.243–97, where the poet playfully toys with the materiality of the statue and its strikingly lifelike appearance. Cf. Pliny, Natural History 36.21 on Praxiteles’ cult statue of Aphrodite of Knidos. Further on ‘agalmatophilia’, see Steiner, Images in Mind, 185–250; Stewart, Statues in Roman Society, esp. 264–7. For the exhibition catalogue, see Panzanelli, Color of Life. Jane Portal et al., eds, The First Emperor: China’s Terracotta Army, London, 2007, esp. 172–4. See for example Om P. Agrawal, ‘A study of Indian polychrome wooden sculpture’, Studies in Conservation, 16, 1971, 56–68. The iconic bust of Nefertiti now in the Egyptian Museum at Berlin is one striking example of artistic mimesis in Pharaonic sculpture. For general discussion, see Donald Wilber, ‘The role of color in architecture’, The Journal of the American Society of Architectural Historians, 2, 1942, 17–22. One might also compare ancient Mayan painted stucco sculptures and ceramics. Donatello’s ‘St John the Baptist’ (1438) and ‘Mary Magdalen’ (c. 1455), for example, both employ elaborate paint and gilding on a wooden base. Cf. also Claus Sluter’s ‘Well of Moses’ (1396–1406) at Champmol, painted by Jean Malouel (court painter to the Burgundian dukes) and gilded by Hermann of Cologne – see S. Nash, ‘Claus Sluter’s ‘‘Well of Moses’’ for the Chartreuse de Champmol Reconsidered’ (published as three parts in The Burlington Magazine, 2005, 2006 and 2008); Gregor Erhart’s ‘Vanitas’ group (c. 1500), painted by Hans Holbein the Elder. Further, see Ned Denny, ed., Wonder: Painted Sculpture from Medieval England, Leeds, 2002. For an example of painted baroque sculpture, see El Greco (c. 1600) Epimetheus and Pandora, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid (E483 and E-937). For a discussion of many of the above pieces, see Panzanelli, Color of Life. Cf. also the Globe Theatre in London, which was also elaborately painted in Shakespeare’s day. Its marble-type, however, had confused archaeologists for centuries; see Pollini, ‘Parian lychnites’. On the importance of Parian marble, see Bradley, ‘Colour and marble’, 10–11. For a classic analysis of the Prima Porta, see Paul Zanker, The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus, Ann Arbor, 1988, 188–92; cf. Kleiner, Roman Sculpture, London, 1992, 61–9; Karl Galinsky, Augustan Culture, Princeton, 1996, esp. . 155–64. On the date, see Valentin Muller, ‘The date of the Augustus from Prima Porta’, American Journal of Philology, 62, 1941, 496–9. See Ulrico Kohler, ‘Statua di Cesare Augusto’, ¨ Annali dell’Instituto, 35, 1863, 432–49, who relegates discussion of colour traces to a footnote (p. 434 n. 1); cf. Guglielmo Henzen, ‘Scavi di Prima porta (2)’, Bulletino dell’Instituto di Corrispondenza di Archeologia, 4, 1863, 71–8, who

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mentions colour only in passing; cf. Walter Amelung, Die Sculpturen des Vaticanischen Museum, Berlin, 1903, 19–20; Reutersw. rd, a Studien zur Polychromie, 212–16, 244; Paolo Liverani, ‘L’Augusto di Prima Porta’, in Anna Gramiccia, ed., I colori del bianco, Rome, 2004, 235–42. . See Brinkmann and Wunsche, Bunte Gotter, 24, ¨ fig. 22. Unfortunately, its precise location within the villa is not known. A base discovered near the atrium wall may have served as a suitable statue base: see Allan Klyne and Peter Liljenstolpe, ‘Where to put Augustus? A note on the placement of the Prima Porta statue’, American Journal of Philology, 121, 2000, 121–8. Tanner’s argument (‘Nature, culture and the body’, 265) that detached sculptural form in Archaic cult statuary alluded to a ‘commitment to an elite self-identity as theoeides, godlike, while engendering a feeling of awe ´ and deference towards the aristocratic elite on the part of the demos’ might also be applied to the ‘super-human’ appearance of the Prima Porta Augustus (and similar Roman statuary), although the politics of viewing are likely to have been very different. The pigments may originally have been subdued by other colours or finishes, but evidence has disappeared. It is possible that the red pigmentation may have been a base for gilding, which was not uncommon on divine and heroic statuary. On the various possibilities of red imprints on marble surfaces, see Ridgway, Prayers in Stone, 107. Suetonius, Augustus 79. On blond hair on Augustan heroes and divinities, see Ovid, Amores 1.15–35 (Apollo); Metamorphoses 6.118 (Minerva); Virgil, Aeneid 4.559 (Mercury). Cf. Rolley, La sculpture grecque, 82 on representations of yellow-haired statues on vases. Some aspects of the importance of colour on sculptural hair (esp. gilding) are discussed by Caroline Vout, ‘What’s in a beard? Rethinking Hadrian’s Hellenism’, in Simon Goldhill and Robin Osborne, eds, Rethinking Revolutions through Ancient Greece, Cambridge, 2006, 96–123, esp. 115–17. A literary analogue to the figural scene on the Prima Porta cuirass is Horace’s Carmen Saeculare, which is particularly concerned with light imagery (see Pollini et al., ‘Parian lychnites’, 283). A phosphoprotein treatment identified across the surface of the marble, as well as acting as a preservative, is likely to have softened unpainted parts of the statue. On candor as a characteristic feature of the divine in Augustan literature, see Virgil, Aeneid 8.608; [Tibullus] 3.6.1; Ovid, Fasti 3.772. On the ‘divine glow’ characteristic of classical cult imagery, see n. 94.
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112 On the distinctive colour of the paludamentum, dyed with cochineal (a scarlet pigment derived from crushed insects), see Pliny, Natural History 22.3; Silius Italicus 17.396. 113 See esp. Meyer Reinhold, The History of Purple as a Status Symbol in Antiquity, Brussels, 1976. Cf. also Bradley, Colour and Meaning, c. 7. Tests in the laboratories of the Vatican Museums from 1999 to 2002 detected evidence of a milk-based binder applied to the pigments of the statue,

which would have been particularly important for binding the delicate blue pigment. This binder is also likely to have had a significant visual effect on the appearance of the colours (see p. 438). 114 For details of the multiple pigment layers, see Liverani, ‘L’Augusto di Prima Porta’, 239, where he suggests that the yellow pigment superimposed on to the Egyptian blue of the tunic fringes is likely to be late-antique.

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