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The Color of Life
The Color of Life
Polychromy in Sculpture from Antiquity to the Present
Edited by Roberta Panzanelli with Eike Schmidt and Kenneth Lapatin
Essays by Vinzenz Brinkmann, Jan Stubbe Østergaard, Marco Collareta, and Alex Potts

J. Paul Getty Museum
200 pages, 9 x 12 inches
166 color and 10 b/w illustrations
ISBN 978-0-89236-917-1
hardcover, $75.00  Order
ISBN 978-0-89236-918-1
paper, $49.95  Order

"The most successful and compelling effort yet to put sculptural polychromy on the map... extraordinary tour de force. Beautifully illustrated... some of the best images publicly available for the study of polychrome sculpture."
Bryn Mawr Classical Review


Ever since antiquity, sculptors have used colored materials and tints to give a lifelike quality to three-dimensional portraits and statues, yet the term "sculpture" tends to evoke images of white marble. This is the first comprehensive study to examine a broad historical range of sculptors' use of polychromy to enliven figural works. This important volume presents five essays on polychromy in Classical Greek through contemporary sculpture, along with individual discussions of over forty extraordinary works, from Old Kingdom Egypt to the present day, including sculptures whose polychromy has only been recently discovered, analyzed, or reconstructed through advanced technical evaluation.

Published to coincide with an exhibition on view in the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa from March 6 to June 23, 2008, this catalogue introduces the art lover and specialist alike to many unfamiliar concepts and masterpieces of an alternative history of sculpture. The works are presented not chronologically but in pairings and sequences that inspire insightful connections, tracing aspects of the impulse that through the ages has inspired sculptors to endow otherwise monochrome figures with the color of life.

Roberta Panzanelli is a senior research specialist at the Getty Research Institute. Eike Schmidt is associate curator of decorative arts at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Kenneth Lapatin is associate curator of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

The Color of Life, hardcover: $75.00   Order
The Color of Life, paperback: $49.95   Order