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.

PRT1_Meeting

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 polychromyroundtable@gmail.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: 

https://www.museicapitolini.org/en/node/1010298

https://www.centralemontemartini.org/en/node/1010304

Updated: 23/11/2022  

Final Programme

PRT11_Final programme.pdf PRT11_Final programme.pdf
Size : 239.16 Kb
Type : pdf

Abstracts Book

PRT11_Abstracts Book.pdf PRT11_Abstracts Book.pdf
Size : 163.281 Kb
Type : pdf

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Latest News

Alexandra Rodler receives ERC funding for her project "Color in a New Light ‒ Origins, Trade and Cultural Significance of Ancient Pigments"

The project funded by the European Research Council (ERC) for a duration of 5 years will be based at the Austrian Archaeological Institute (OeAI) in Vienna. The goals of the project include developing a comprehensive approach to assessing the origin of raw materials, trade and technological developments of pigments in antiquity and with this, the significance of colour in cultural contexts. At its core, this project develops an open access database and uses the collected data to evaluate pigments as carriers of cultural information, as well as for the visualisation of colour networks.

Read more about the project here.


Added: 25/11/2022

Image © OeAW-OeAI/N. Gail

                                                                                                                                                   More News

Latest Publications

New articles!

"Multi-technique analysis of pigments on sandstone sculptures: Renaissance re-painting of a Roman relief"

Louisa Campbell and Margaret Smith

Herit Sci 10, 156 (2022).

Read free and open-access here: https://doi.org/10.1186/s40494-022-00790-7

Published - 05/10/2022.

"Polychromy in Roman Portraits from Asido (Medina Sidonia, Cádiz, Spain). LiviaGermanicus and Drusus Minor"

Carlos P. Odriozola, José Beltrán Fortes, María Luisa Loza Azuaga and José María Martínez Blanes

Herit Sci 10, 108 (2022). 

Read free and open-access here: https://doi.org/10.1186/s40494-022-00734-1

Published - 09/07/2022.

"Reconstructions of Roman Polychrome Architecture: Evidence, Ideal, and Ideology."

Stephan Zink

in Elisha Ann Dumser, and Dorian Borbonus (eds), Building the Classical World: Bauforschung as a Contemporary Approach (New York, 2022; online edn, Oxford Academic, 23 June 2022), https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780190690526.003.0014

More information on the volume here.

Published - 23/06/2022.

New books!

"The Polychromy of Etruscan Sculpture on the basis of selected objects from European Museums" (Doctoral Thesis)

Julia Großekathöfer

Published by Ruhr-Universität Bochum.

This publication is based on the visual examination and photographic
documentation of more than seventy-five exemplary Etruscan objects. This alone gives the reader a first insight into the aesthetic and narrative
functions of colour in Etruscan sculpture. The text section focuses on
the evaluation of the material, while the catalog illustrates the
description of the objects. Finally, a tabular overview provides the
basis for determining more precisely the painting technique of an
Etruscan object in its dependence on form and time.

Dr Großekathöfer obtained her doctorate on 22 July 2016 and is currently doing a scientific traineeship - in addition to her work as a museum educator - at the LWL-Römermuseum Haltern am See.

Open access to the book is available here.

Published - 07/03/2022.

"Textiles in Ancient Mediterranean Iconography"

Editors: Cecilie Brøns, Susanna Harris, Marta Żuchowska

Published by Oxbow Books.

This volume provides an ambitious synopsis of the complex, colourful world of textiles in ancient Mediterranean iconography. A wealth of information on ancient textiles is available from depictions such as sculpture, vase painting, figurines, reliefs and mosaics. Includes several chapters on polychromy in ancient sculpture.

More information (including how to order) here.

Open access to the book is available here.

Published - 28/02/2022.

Upcoming Events

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. 

Open to the public - Information regarding final schedule and registration to be added online by January 2023.

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