This is interesting … we have reported in the past of various studies etc. which have demonstrated/recreated the colours which originally adorned ancient statuary and temples, but apparently no trace of paint has ever been found on the Parthenon before. Recently, however, a researcher at the British Museum — Giovanni Verri — has developed a technique to detect at least one colour (Egyptian Blue) on the Parthenon/Elgin Marbles. An excerpt from the coverage in New Scientist:
Verri shines red light onto the marble, and any traces of paint that remain absorb the red light and emit infrared light. Viewed through an infrared camera, any parts of the marble that were once blue appear to glow.
Egyptian blue has shown up on the belt of Iris, Poseidon’s messenger goddess (see image), and as a wave pattern along the back of Helios, god of the sun, who is shown rising out of the sea at dawn. It also appears as stripes on the woven mantle draped over another goddess, Dione (see image).
If you look at the images accompanying the New Scientist article, you can see we’re definitely talking about ‘traces’. Of course, Dr. Verri has a paper on the technique, the abstract (and possibly full text) of which is available here.
- New test reveals Parthenon’s hidden colour (New Scientist)
- Parthenon was covered in colourful paint (Telegraph)
- New Imaging Technique Shows Parthenon Was Once Brightly Painted (Discover)