spring 2010 friends lecture series

Conservation in Focus: Looking for Colour on Ancient Greek and Roman Sculpture

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

17.30 - 18.30, Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre

cracked bust of woman
Queen Berenike II, Cyrene, Lybia, 246-21 BCE, The British Museum (1861,1127.145). Photo: The British Museum

Speaker(s): Giovanni Verri (Mellon Fellow, British Museum)

Ticket/entry details: Open to all, free admission

Organised by: Conservation of Wall Painting Department and Conservation & Technology Department (The Courtauld)

It is now well established that colour formed a central part of the life and culture of ancient civilisations throughout the areas surrounding the Mediterranean basin and beyond. Wall paintings, ceramics, architecture and sculpture were often brightly painted and the importance of colour is referred to in the primary literary sources from those cultures. Over time, sculptures and carved stone have often lost much of their original coloration, particularly when compared with wall paintings and ceramics. New and old scientific investigations can reveal the presence of expected and unexpected occurrences of colour and rediscover lost decorative patterns.

The Spring 2010 Friends Lecture Series is supported by the Friends of The Courtauld Institute of Art.

The many faces of conservation are presented in this series of lectures: from concerted efforts to preserve endangered authentic architectural polychromy in China, to interfacing with public perceptions of what is a mostly an invisible activity at the British Museum, to a spectacularly simple yet effective method for visualising remains of Egyptian blue on ancient art. Technical studies are a traditional strength of The Courtauld and three of the lectures will explore paintings methods, beginning with 17th-century Holland and recent analysis of paintings by Vermeer and Bol, then moving to 20th-century Italy and the Spatialist art of Fontana.

Back to Events Calendar