Kouros Colloquium

Since its acquisition by the J. Paul Getty Museum in 1985, the Getty Kouros, a marble statue of a standing nude youth, has been the subject of intense study and debate. At issue is the statute's authenticity.

Conservation image

On May 26-27, 1992 a colloquium on the statue was held at the Goulandris Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens, Greece. Cosponsored by the Getty Museum and the Nicholas P. Goulandris Foundation, the purpose of the event was to clarify the current state of research on the authenticity of the Kouros. In attendance were art historians, archaeologists, and scientific specialists, including members of the GCI staff who have carried out technical investigations into the sculpture.

The colloquium was divided into three sessions: the first devoted to questions of style; the second to technical features; and the last to scientific studies. Speakers from Greece, France, Germany, Great Britain, and the United States presented their observations for discussion. The colloquium provided an opportunity for a wide ranging exchange of ideas and information in a multidisciplinary context.

To date, no single piece of evidence has definitively supported or refuted the sculpture's antiquity. Although no consensus was reached concerning the authenticity of the Kouros, there was general recognition that scientific research can provide valuable information about ancient sculpture, that a data base of information on kouroi would be a significant contribution to knowledge and that these colloquia contribute significantly to furthering interest in art historical and scientific research in art conservation.