Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Our Ancestors Sure Were Tacky

(Above: The color-reconstructed Alexander Sarcophagus. Below: The "original.")

Okay, they're not my ancestors, and they're probably not yours. But you get the idea.

So all those beautiful white Greek and Roman statues you see in museums? They weren't always so classy. No, back in the day, they were garishly painted. (So were all those lovely temples, I'm afraid.) This isn't news to me, and it may not be news for you. But it's still a bit shocking to see color reconstructions of ancient artworks.

Or maybe it's just me. What do you think?

See more examples here


Blogger The Golden Eagle said...

They are rather garish. It's so . . . bright and the colors just don't jive. I like them white better. :P

4:59 PM  
Anonymous Hazel said...

Plus, rich Roman dudes used to pay for statues of themselves in the forum.

5:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

agh. youre right, they are tacky. i think the worst was probably the second-to-last picture, with the archer. but (on a totally unrelated subject) i went to the beach, and there was a small painting of the ocean on the side of a piece of driftwood. it wasnt graffiti, and in a notch in the wood above the painting, there was business cards. i wasnt able to get a picture of it, but theres a website on the card: www.padraicart.com. i just thought that was neat. have you seen anything similar?

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Clare said...

Yes, they look sort of cartoon-ish when their painted. That's really cool anonymous! I haven't ever come across something like that.

8:52 PM  
Anonymous Hazel said...

I just figured out what it looks like: "Asterix and Obelix"! Thanks to Clare for saying "cartoonish".

11:41 AM  
Anonymous SheBeeMee said...

people are just saying thier tacky because u said so kirsten. personally i bet that was cool back then. i mean nowadays people wear glittery spagetti tops and tights. in 50 years maybe even 20 people are going to call us tacky. they may even think jeans are tacky. so for roman and greek things, which are like 1000s of years old, of course we think they are tacky. but back then they probably werent. i think we should just appriecate what the contributed to our world. not judge their style. sorry if i offend anyone espiecally u kirsten but im just voicing my opinion.

9:02 PM  
Blogger Kiki Strike said...

SheBeMee: I'm not offended!

10:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robert in San Diego here:

One thing to note is that when the Renaissance non-gothic architects and scholars like Palladio and Leon Batista Alberti started usiog ruins, surviving buildings and newly emerging architectural books -- all the paint jobs had been peeling, flaking, fading and weathering for about one to three thousand years. The only things I'm pretty sure kept their original colors were encaustic wax portraits, maybe mosaics, and some tough-wearig, non-fading glazed bricks. For some reason the brick stuff got buried if it was to last in one mass (ruins got ploughed back into new costruction over the ages). If your ever in Berlin, I don't know when it arrived or which museum, but the Ishtar Gate of Babylon is there. Oops, doing this by cell phone.

8:39 PM  
Blogger Lachie Macfarlane said...

You know, in a world where leather clothing was treated using dog faeces and you could only get coloured dyes from a few exotic plants, I think a full array of brightly coloured sculptures would have been dazzling, not tacky.

It makes the Persians and Greeks seem a bit more similar, doesn't it?

11:17 PM  

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