Polychromy Research
at the Liebieghaus

Gods in Color

For more than 40 years, Vinzenz Brinkmann, Head of the Collections of Antiquities at the Liebieghaus, and Ulrike Koch-Brinkmann have been researching the polychromy of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture. As part of a traveling exhibition, the results of their research are captivating the public worldwide. The aim is to convey as accurate a picture as possible of the original statue through the color reconstructions of marble and bronze statues - always supported by scientific research.

At the Liebieghaus, the scientific color reconstructions were first on view in 2008 under the title "Gods in Color - Painted Sculpture of Classical Antiquity", followed in 2020 by the expanded exhibition “GODS IN COLOR — GOLDEN EDITION: Polychromy in Antiquity”.

Currently, the work of the international team of researchers is on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

  1. Digitorial®

    Everything worth knowing about “Gods in Color”

    The multimedia one-pager offers a multifaceted insight into the works of the exhibition - with informative texts, images, as well as video and sound recordings.

  2. Project Website

    The research project in overview

    On the website of the research project, you can learn everything about the reconstructions, past exhibitions, and the publications that have appeared.

  3. Ancient sculpture was colorful!

    Exhibition film

  4. A portrait

    Prof. Dr. Vinzenz Brinkmann

    Learn more about the head of the project, whose research sparked international interest in the colors of antiquity.

  5. Research & Journal

    Looking back

    A look back at the history of the successful traveling exhibition and over 40 years of polychromy research.

  6. GODS IN COLOR – GOLDEN EDITION

    Online tour

  7. An Archaeological Experiment

    The Bronze Statues from Quirinal Hill

  • “A lifetime of persistence has afforded the Brinkmann replicas a celebrity status that can eclipse the genuine artifacts [...]. You can attribute much of that popularity to the Brinkmanns’ traveling exhibition, “Gods in Color,” which has been presented at venues like the Vatican Museums, the Harvard Art Museums and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England since 2003.“

    The New York Times, Zachary Small, 17 August 2022
  • “It’s surprising, almost jarring, to see these ancient works depicting gods, goddesses, important personalities, and mythological creatures painted in lively colors with flesh-toned paint, colorful clothes […], and sometimes with touches of gold. But this is how ancient sculpture used to be.”

    Epoch Times, Lorraine Ferrier, June 16, 2022
  • “Think classical sculptures were all white marble? Think again.“

    ABC Radio National, The Art Show, Daniel Browning, 6 August 2021
  • “In the past two decades, polychromy has caught on in museums, with projects like the ongoing touring exhibition ‘Gods in Color’ […] deploying richly multicolored reconstructions to spotlight how ancient artisans sought mimesis through form and color. Slowly and steadily, they’ve injected a much-needed corrective to the perception of an achromatic antiquity.”

    Jing Culture & Commerce, Min Chen, 6 July 6 2022
  • “Scattered through the Met’s Greek and Roman galleries are a series of painted figures with red lips and rouged cheeks and outfits as vibrant as anything seen at the Met Gala.”

    The Times, Will Pavia, 15 July 2022

Gods in color on tour

The successful Liebieghaus exhibition has meanwhile been touring the world for twenty years and delighted more than three million visitors. Each venue presents further reconstructions – along with new insights into ancient polychromy – and brings the once brightly coloured look of antiquity’s sculptures back to life. A suspenseful journey with no end in sight.

    2022 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

    Until 26 March 2023, the exhibition "Chroma: Ancient Sculpture in Color" is on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, USA.

    Overview of all exhibition venues

    Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung, Frankfurt on the Main (January 2020 to September 2021)
    Legion of Honor, San Francisco, USA (October 2017 to January 2018)
    Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City, Mexico (October 2016 to January 2017)
    The British Museum, London, Great Britain (March to June 2015)
    Ashmolean Museum, Cast Collection, Oxford, Great Britain (January to June 2015)
    Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, Denmark (September to December 2014)
    Museum der Universität Tübingen, Schloss Hohentübingen, Germany (April to August 2014)
    Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria (November 2012 to March 2013)
    Art collections of Ruhr University Bochum, Bochum, Germany (June to October 2012)
    Winckelmann-Museum, Stendal, Germany (December 2011 to April 2012)
    Heidelberg University, Institute for Classical Archaeology/University Collections, Heidelberg, Germany (October 2011 to May 2012)
    University of Göttingen, Department of Archaeology/University Collections, Göttingen, Germany (March to July 2011)
    Medelhavsmuseet, Stockholm, Sweden (October 2010 to January 2011)
    Pergamon Museum, Berlin State Museums, Berlin, Germany (July to October 2010)
    Museo Arqueológico Regional de la comunidad de Madrid, Spain (December 2009 to April 2010)
    Museum Palace Wilhelmshöhe Collection of Antiques, Kassel, Germany (March to June 2009)
    Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung, Frankfurt on the Main (October 2008 to February 2009)
    Museum für Abgüsse Klassischer Bildwerke, Munich, Germany (June to August 2008)
    The Getty Villa, Malibu (Los Angeles), USA (March to June 2008)
    Harvard Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Havard University, Cambridge (Massachusetts), USA (September 2007 to January 2008)
    Museum of Arts and Crafts, Hamburg, Germany (April to July 2007)
    Istanbul Archaeology Museum, Istanbul, Turkey (April to July 2006)
    National Archaeological Museum, Athen, Greece (January to March 2006)
    Allard Pierson Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (August to November 2005)
    Antikenmuseum und Sammlung Ludwig, Basel, Switzerland (August to November 2005)
    Vatican Museums, Rome, Italy (November 2004 to January 2005)
    Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, Denmark (March to May 2004)
    Staatliche Antikensammlungen und Glyptothek, Munich, Germany (December 2003 to February 2004)