The International Round Table on Polychromy in Ancient Sculpture and Architecture or the “Polychromy Round Table” is a series of meetings dedicated to the study of the polychromy of ancient sculpture and architecture.
The subject of colour in the ancient world has long fascinated scholars. Within the realm of Classical art, historians stretching back to the late eighteenth century have periodically addressed the topic that sculpture and architectural elements from the Greco-Roman world, and beyond, were originally highly coloured.
Recently, interest in this field has once more been reinvigorated by the advent of new scientific techniques and methodologies, as well as by a community of diverse and interdisciplinary scholars, dedicated to the study of the polychromy of ancient sculpture and architecture.
Since 2009, this growing network of scholars has met on a series of occasions(see Past Meetings), first held annually and, since 2016, biennially.
The meetings have a strong tradition of providing an excellent opportunity for experts from a wide range of fields (archaeologists, architectural historians, scientists, conservators, museum and digital humanities professionals) to discuss new research in a stimulating multidisciplinary setting. Papers from a variety of perspectives are encouraged and cover many aspects of polychromy in ancient sculpture and architecture.
The first meeting of the Polychromy Round Table, held at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen in 2009, was made up of only 11 participants. By comparison, 2020's virtual meeting had more than 360 registrants.
Image © Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
This website collects the experience of these productive and rich encounters at the Polychromy Round Table, in the form of past programmes, abstracts and published proceedings. It also aims to provide a focal point for this network and research community to share news on its investigations, publications and events.
In the inclusive spirit of the Polychromy Round Table and its network, this site also aims to reach out to other researchers who may be considering the subject of ancient polychromy from the Greco-Roman world or relevant comparative studies from their own interdisciplinary viewpoints, geographical areas and time periods. Contact us here or on email@example.com.
Latest information on the Polychromy Round Table meeting
The 11th International Round Table on Polychromy in Ancient Sculpture and Architecture was held in Rome between the 9th - 12th November, 2022 and hosted jointly by the Musei Capitolini and the Museo Nazionale Romano.
We wish to thank the organizers at the host institutions for their outstanding efforts and helpfulness. Particularly, from the Musei Capitolini and Centrale Montemartini; the Sovrintendente Claudio Parisi Presicce, and Nadia Agnoli and Eloisa Dodero, and from the Museo Nazionale Romano; the Director Stephane Verger, and Chiara Giobbe and Agnese Pergola.
For more information, including links to the pdfs of the posters presented at the poster session on 12/11, see:
PRT12 - Save the Date!
The 12th International Round Table on Polychromy in Ancient Sculpture and Architecture will be held at the Getty Villa in Los Angeles, California, USA, during the week of 18th November, 2024.
More details to follow soon!
Dr Tuna Şare Ağtürk awarded the James R. Wiseman Book Award for her monograph, The Painted Tetrarchic Reliefs of Nicomedia: Uncovering the Colourful Life of Diocletian’s Forgotten Capital.
The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) has awarded Dr. Tuna Şare Ağtürk the 2023 James R. Wiseman Book Award for her monograph, The Painted Tetrarchic Reliefs of Nicomedia: Uncovering the Colourful Life of Diocletian’s Forgotten Capital. The monograph is published in the series Studies in Classical Archaeology, edited by professor and UrbNet centre director Rubina Raja and published by Brepols Publishers.
The book is the primary publication of a major new monument of the Tetrachic period from Nicomedia in Asia Minor. Read more about the book at Brepols’ website here.
Image © Archaeological Institute of America (AIA).
"The colours of Segesta. Searching for the traces of the lost pigments"
Veronica Ciaramitaro, Francesco Armetta, Monica de Cesare and Maria Luisa Saladino
Journal of Cultural Heritage, 59 (2023): 30-37.
Read more here: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.culher.2022.11.003
Published online - 20/11/2022.
"A Late Archaic/Early Classical Greek Relief with Two Hoplites (Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek IN 2787)"
Jan Stubbe Østergaard and Adam Schwartz
Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, 2022, 137, S. 1–37.
Read more here: https://doi.org/10.34780/1bb3-3a3d
To read a sample of the article (pp. 1 - 10), see :
Published - 27/10/2022.
"Seeing Color in Classical Art: Theory, Practice, and Reception, from Antiquity to the Present"
Jennifer M. S. Stager
Published by Cambridge University Press
The remains of ancient Mediterranean art and architecture that have survived over the centuries present the modern viewer with images of white, the color of the stone often used for sculpture. Antiquarian debates and recent scholarship, however, have challenged this aspect of ancient sculpture. There is now a consensus that sculpture produced in the ancient Mediterranean world, as well as art objects in other media, were, in fact, polychromatic. Color has consequently become one of the most important issues in the study of classical art. Jennifer Stager's landmark book makes a vital contribution to this discussion. Analyzing the dyes, pigments, stones, earth, and metals found in ancient art works, along with the language that writers in antiquity used to describe color, she examines the traces of color in a variety of media. Stager also discusses the significance of a reception history that has emphasized whiteness, revealing how ancient artistic practice and ancient philosophies of color significantly influenced one another.
Published - 25/11/2022.
Chroma Symposium - The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
24th - 25th March, 2023.
The Chroma symposium will take place in The Met's Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium with presentations from a multi-disciplinary and international group of scholars, including art historians, conservators, curators, imaging specialists, and scientists.
The symposium sessions generally follow the overarching themes of the exhibition Chroma: Ancient Sculpture in Color (July 5, 2022-March 26, 2023), which was co-curated by Seán Hemingway, John A. and Carole O. Moran Curator in Charge, and Associate Curator Sarah Lepinski in the Department of Greek and Roman Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Vinzenz Brinkmann, Head of the Department of Antiquity at the Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung.
Vinzenz Brinkmann will deliver the keynote address. Session topics include new analytical and scholarly approaches for identifying and interpreting color on ancient sculpture; color, medium, and materiality in ancient and early modern sculptural traditions; the roles of reproductions of original works of art in expanding understanding of ancient polychromy; and the reception of ancient polychromy in modern and contemporary sculpture and architecture.
For more information see:
Please find registration information for the Chroma symposium via the links below. Please note that each day requires registration.
Day One Registration Page:
Day Two Registration Page:
Open to the public - Information regarding final schedule coming soon!
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