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Rediscovering Color: New Perspectives on Polychrome Sculpture (symposium)

Dates: Friday and Saturday, May 2 and 3, 2008
Time: 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. on Friday with reception to follow; 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. on Saturday
Location: Getty Villa, Auditorium
Admission: Free. Registration is now closed. For information, please e-mail or call (310) 440-7568.

Sculpture is proving to be more colorful than past studies have led us to believe. Recent investigations have uncovered evidence of extensive and diverse use of color in sculpture through history. In coincidence with these discoveries, color has also become a protagonist of contemporary sculptural practice and discourse.

This symposium, presented in conjunction with the exhibition The Color of Life: Polychromy in Sculpture from Antiquity to the Present (at the Getty Villa, March 6–June 23, 2008), brings together an international group of scholars and conservators to explore conceptual and technical issues associated with polychrome sculpture. Topics to be explored include historiography, conservation, iconography, and artistic collaboration, as well as issues related to diverse materials and techniques.

It is hoped that the ensuing dialogue among experts from various fields will lead to further inquiry as to the place of color in sculpture and its relation to other visual arts.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Mark Benford Abbe (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)
  • Clarissa Blume (Ruhr–Universität Bochum, Germany)
  • Vinzenz Brinkmann (Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung, Frankfurt, and Stiftung Archäologie, Munich, Germany)
  • Raffaele Casciaro (Università del Salento, Lecce, Italy)
  • Liza Cleland (University of Edinburgh, Scotland)
  • A. A. Donohue (Bryn Mawr College, Pennyslvania)
  • Stephen Feeke (Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, United Kingdom)
  • John Gage (University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)
  • Giancarlo Gentilini (Università degli Studi di Perugia, Italy)
  • Sonia Tortajada Hernando (Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, Spain)
  • Karen Lemmey (Independent Scholar, New York)
  • Miguel A. Marcos (Museo Nacional de Escultura, Valladolid, Spain)
  • Susie Nash (Courtauld Institute of Art, London, United Kingdom)
  • Bernard Schmaltz (Archäologisches Institut Kiel, Germany)
  • David Warburton (Aarhus Universitet, Denmark)
  • Dyfri Williams (British Museum, London, United Kingdom)

Download a current schedule (PDF, 32KB)
—updated March 6, 2008.

For further information or to ask questions about this symposium, please e-mail

Related Event

Color in Classical Sculpture: A Challenge to Western Ideals (public lecture)
Jan Stubbe Østergaard

Date: Thursday, May 1, 2008
Time: 8:00 p.m.
Location: Getty Villa, Auditorium
Admission: Free; a ticket is required and can be obtained as part of symposium registration (see above). To obtain a ticket for the lecture only, call (310) 440-7300 or use the "Get Tickets" button below.

The idea that ancient Greek and Roman statuary was conceived in white marble remains pervasive. This has influenced not only our understanding of sculpture in antiquity but also the aesthetic ideals of later Western art and architecture—ideals that are part of our cultural identity. But interdisciplinary research demonstrates that color was inherent to ancient statuary. Jan Stubbe Østergaard, curator of ancient art at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, surveys our knowledge of ancient sculptural polychromy and discusses its repercussions.

How to Get Here
The Getty Villa is located at 17985 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California, approximately 25 miles west of downtown Los Angeles. See Hours, Directions, Parking for directions and parking information.

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