Gods in Color

Painted Sculpture of Classical Antiquity

Theme Digitorial

Find out everything worth knowing about “Gods in Color”.


8 October 2008 to 15 February 2009

Antique marble sculpture was not white, but colored. This is amply and overwhelmingly attested to by ancient literary sources. Whereas the incontestable fact that ancient sculpture was colored was suppressed during the Italian Renaissance, it was recalled in the nineteenth century; in the twentieth century, it once again paled into insignificance, giving way to an aestheticism directed at clarity. Numerous traces of the original polychromy in antique sculpture have survived. They bear testimony to Greek and Roman statues having worn elaborately ornamented garments painted with precious pigments.

For many years, an international team of scholars led by Vinzenz Brinkmann, head of the Collection of Antiques of the Liebieghaus, has been conducting research that has brought to light a multitude of new findings. The exhibition “Gods in Color” has resulted from this research project. It juxtaposed some 70 originals—such as polychrome terracottas, marble statuary, and mummy portraits—with more than 30 spectacular reconstructions bringing “colorful antiquity” back to life.

Learn more about polychromy research at the Liebieghaus here.

Curator Prof. Dr. Vinzenz Brinkmann (Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung)
Sponsored by Bank of America and Škoda Auto Deutschland GmbH
With additional support from Caparol Farben Lacke Bautenschutz, the FAZIT-Foundation and Karstadt Frankfurt-Zeil
Media partners Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, hr2-kultur, Verkehrsgesellschaft Frankfurt am Main