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The Color of Life

When one thinks of figural sculpture in Western art—whether its Michelangelos David or Rodins The Thinker—one often imagines works carved in white marble or cast in bronze, realistic in their depiction of the human figure, but utterly devoid of color. While monochromatic sculpture has been popular for centuries, it does not reflect the full range of possibilities. Sculptors from the ancient Mediterranean finished their works with color and the painting of sculpture continued through the ages and still flourishes today. The unfamiliar, and much neglected, history of sculpture painted in color is explored in The Color of Life: Polychromy in Sculpture from Antiquity to the Present, on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa from March 6 - June 23, 2008.


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