Vinzenz Brinkmann: A Portrait

When Prof Dr Vinzenz Brinkmann looks at antique sculptures, he sees above all one thing: gods in bright colours. Since the original colouration has survived on figures and architectural elements at best in mere remnants, the head of the Collections of Antiquities and Asia passionately undertakes to examine these remnants in depth and reconstruct the figures’ polychromy.

How did your fascination with polychromy as a research topic come about?
It was more or less by chance. As a student I spent a year at the university in Athens, and I kept noticing traces of polychromy on the antique marble sculptures there. So I started collecting these traces—almost obsessively—by photographing them.

What archaeological find would you most like to excavate someday?
An antique marble sculpture with well-preserved polychromy.

What remote countries do you visit in connection with your work for the Liebieghaus?
My work doesn’t really take me to remote countries—but it does sometimes take me to crisis regions, for example North Africa or the Middle East. I especially like working in Greece and Italy.


Prof Dr Vinzenz Brinkmann studied classical archaeology in Munich and Athens and earned his doctorate with his “observations on the formal structure and meaning of the frieze of the Siphnian Treasury”. He began his professional career as an assistant professor at the Universität Bochum and subsequently worked as a curator at the Staatliche Antikensammlungen and the Glyptothek in Munich. He habilitated in Bochum in 2001. He teaches at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (since 2008 as adjunct professor) and since habilitating at the Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main (2010) Vinzenz Brinkmann has headed the Department of Antiquities and Asia at the Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung.

Research focus

His research focuses are the paints and colours of antiquity and antique myths. The results of his research into antique polychromy have been presented in many cities of the world in the travelling exhibition “Gods in Color”.

Polychromy research at the Liebieghaus

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