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date: 17 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the use of painting, gilding, and other forms of colorful decoration on Roman sculpture. Recent approaches to the examination and characterization of the vestiges of such polychromy are described briefly, and the ancient evidence for the artists who created the polychrome effects of Roman sculpture is presented. The coloration of the three principal extant materials of Roman statuary—white marble, colored stones, and bronze—is summarized for the period between 100 BC and 300 AD, when most extant Roman sculptures were produced. The diverse materials and refined techniques of this tradition of sculptural polychromy reveal the rich coloration and sumptuous materiality that defined the Roman experience of these figured images.

Keywords: polychromy, color, painting, marble, bronze, colored stone, gilding, porphyry

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