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Centuries of Art at Your Library – Those Gaudy Ancients: Exploring the Color of Antiquity (WL)

October 30, 2023 @ 7:00 pm


We encounter ancient sculptures thousands of years after they were created and can readily imagine the complete form of these statues, despite missing parts and broken bits. But it is much harder to imagine something we hardly ever glimpse — color! Ancient statues were painted, often with bright, gaudy pigments. This lecture explores the color of ancient statues and how modern researchers are discovering surviving traces of those colors in order to recreate sculpture’s original appearance.

Presenter: Peter Schertz, PhD, Jack and Mary Ann Frable Curator of Ancient Art at VMFA, has served as curator of Ancient Art since October 2006 and the Jack and Mary Ann Frable Curator of Ancient Art since 2007. Dr. Schertz received his BA in classical languages and literature from the University of Chicago (1987) and his PhD in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Southern California (2004). In addition to his museum work, Dr. Schertz worked as an editor for the Israel Antiquities Authority and currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Association of Art Museum Curators. At VMFA, Dr. Schertz curated the exhibition The Horse in Ancient Greek Art (2017) and has engaged in a number of research projects, including as the co-director of the Arch of Titus Digital Restoration Project and as co-director of the NEH-supported study of the Richmond Caligula, now published as New Studies on the Portrait of Caligula in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (Brill, 2020). He has also published on the Second Temple in Jerusalem in its Roman context and is currently researching the history and significance of equestrian statues from the Marcus Aurelius statue in Rome to Kehinde Wiley’s Rumors of War at the VMFA. He is particularly interested in how new technologies can help us understand and interpret ancient art.

This program is a part of the Centuries of Art series, brought to you in partnership by Williamsburg Regional Library, the Williamsburg Contemporary Art Center, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.


Williamsburg Library Theatre
515 Scotland St
Williamsburg, VA 23185 United States
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