While Klimt and Rodin were receiving all the press in late 2017 at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, a third exhibit was quietly garnering some accolades. “Gods in Color: Polychromy in the Ancient World”.
Pictured is a Trojan archer, one of 40 reproductions of well-known Greek and Roman artworks painted in brightly colored authentic pigments. It’s based after the Greek original, circa 480 BC; and consists of a synthetic marble cast with natural pigments in egg tempera, lead and wood. Notice the archers youthful hands. Observe the synchronized direction of the pointed arrow with the docent’s arm. It’s as if the archer and docent are one, waiting on the arrow to let fly.
The Legion of Honor docent is describing how the exhibition has reintroduced ‘polychromy’, the painting of sculptures which overturn the idea of the stark white marble that we’ve all come to view as the only way to observe antiquities. This powerful and dazzling painting process is the result of over 30 years of groundbreaking research in the pigmentation of ancient sculpture by international scientists and archaeologists. According to Max Hollein, director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, “Visitors who imagine the classical world as stark and white will be shocked and startled to see antique sculpture in such bright and vivid colors”.
As a street photographer, I love to roam through museums and galleries not only for the beautiful art, but for the reactions and juxtapositions created by visitors. Viewing what is on display (be it sculpture, painting, or photography) along side museum-goers, may very well transform an ‘ordinary’ experience into an ‘extraordinary’ one.
For more detailed information on David’s street photography, visit www.DavidKalbPhotography.com. Note one of the galleries includes images from art museums in Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, andSaint Petersburg, Russia – as well as San Francisco.