The Colourful Truth

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Priority access is one of the privileges I never grew weary of being a student at the Louvre. That means getting through a sneaky entrance (Passage Richelieu) and almost no queues, getting in the rooms earlier and seeing the Nike of Samothrace all for yourself. It was 9.13am that day. I had gotten early at the Louvre to revise Ancient Greek stuff and I perambulated the Daru gallery, almost roaming for fear of being tracked down by tourists impatiently looking for the Joconde, a quick wink to my right to say hi to the Borghese Gladiator (who is not a gladiator by the way), a courtly tilt of my head to my left at the Borghese Vase, brief salutations to the diverse emperors statues and here she appears at the top of the Daro Staircase and you forget that this statue is baroque hellenistic; all her complicated garments' names, that it is supposed to be seen from a three-quarter left view to reveal in its majesty the magnificent folds of her draperies, her sinous, slender forms, that it allegedly stood on a pedestal representing the prow of a trihemolia as an ex-voto offered by the Rhodian people for a naval victory. Sublime is all that comes to mind, this tingled sensation in your brain that soothes and transcends your soul.

Privilege. I'm so grateful to have seen so many paintings in the placidity of a visitor-free museum. Like this :

Room 75 "Daru" Neoclassicism , 9ish am

Some of the painting you can see in this room:
Oath of the Horatii / Paris and Helen / The Sabines / The Coronation of Napoleon (the Coronation of Napoleon all for yourself!!!), Jacques-Louis DAVID
Marius à Minturnes, Jean-Germain DROUAIS
The Burial of Atala / The Sleep of Endymion / Pygmalion, Anne-Louis GIRODET
Grande Odalisque, Jean-Auguste-Dominique INGRES
Love and Psyche, François-Édouard PICOT

Same Room, 12pm

If you'd like to see more of my Louvre pictures, head over here.

The aim of this post was actually to reveal the shocking, colourful truth (to those who don't know) that Greek statues or monuments were not white. They were not made with immaculacy in mind. It's the Western world that believed that Greek art was "pure" in opposition of the colour conventions of their time : "The whole world then appeared to me barbarian. The East repelled me by its pomp, its ostentations  and its impostures" ( Prayer on the Acropolis, Ernest Renan). The Parthenon was painted! You were myth-taken! They were colourful (and colourful in a way that would make my eyes hurt, very personal opinion). Think red, blue, yellow, brown. All mixed together. With prints. Polychromy was the norm. So the Nike of Samothrace was not white or greyish. I know you're disappointed. Just wait and see how archaeologists and scientists have reconstituted the polychromy that intensive weathering has faded .
This is how the Parthenon probably looked liked :


There was a (travelling) exhibition in 2003-2004  "Bunte Götter – Die Farbigkeit antiker Skulptur", that displayed copies of the reconstructed artworks. I think the most famous is this one :

Pâris, on the Western pediment of the Aphaia Temple, (source)
So what do you think?

1 commentaires:

  1. Comme j'aimerais être dans un musée vide. Le fantasme absolue



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