The Myth of Whiteness in Classical Sculpture

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Greek and Roman statues were often painted, but assumptions about race and aesthetics have suppressed this truth.

Now scholars are making a color correction.

Mark Abbe was ambushed by color in 2000, while working on an archeological dig in the ancient Greek city of Aphrodisias, in present-day Turkey.

Korex 2bAt the time, he was a graduate student at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, and, like most people, he thought of Greek and Roman statues as objects of pure white marble.

The gods, heroes, and nymphs displayed in museums look that way, as do…

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