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The considered video presented by Vice News describes such a concept as polychromy and its application to ancient sculptural objects. The opinions presented by the participants of this fragment are based on the fact that white statues made of marble and perceived by many habitually carry much more information. According to one of the interviewees, due to modern technology, it is possible to establish that polychromy was common in ancient times (Vice News 00:00:37-00:00:42). As a result, one can argue that the prevailing stereotypes about the monochrome of ancient statues are incorrect, particularly with regard to the color scheme of the garments and decorations of these objects.
The perception of sculptures by modern people is largely due to the prevailing trend for white statues to be displayed. The heroine of the video asks why, in all areas where these objects are mentioned, including movies and video games, ancient figures are presented in exceptionally light shades (Vice News 00:00:23-00:00:34). Perhaps this is due to the fact that earlier, there were no those opportunities to restore the color of statues that exist today. The deterioration of sculptures and the fading of the paint are the reasons why those objects of art that have survived to the present are associated exclusively with white. Such a reflection is perceived naturally among the masses, and it is unprofitable for people involved in various entertainment industries to offer other options since viewers may not understand this message.
Nevertheless, museums and other repositories where ancient artifacts are contained should display this information. Modern technology allows specialists to restore true color solutions to which sculptors of past eras resorted. The interview participants in the video are convinced that polychrome statues are to be presented appropriately so that the public could know how they looked in the original (Vice News 00:03:03-00:03:13). This decision is significant because people can get more accurate data on the cultural characteristics and trends of past eras and evaluate how artists approached the creation of their masterpieces. Moreover, such a measure will make the process of cultural cognition more credible and unbiased. Therefore, when using modern digital technology, museum officials can make an effort to recreate the original appearance of polychrome sculptures that convey truthful information to the audience.
At the same time, despite the possibility of reconstructing history, this decision may not be approved. One of the video participants argues that “it’s a fiction that we really like telling ourselves” (Vice News 00:03:41-00:03:44). In other words, the images that are ingrained among people are familiar to everyone, and changes can lead to mixed opinions and the distrust of facts. However, even despite potential disagreement with possible amendments, searching for the truth is an important component of research work. Art historians who have uncovered the mystery of polychromy and promote the idea of displaying real images of ancient sculptures prove that reconstructing history is possible. People themselves take part in creating trends, and in case-specific decisions are perceived everywhere, this turns into a trend from an innovation. It is not easy to imagine whether changing the way sculptures are displayed will help people understand the real messages of their creators. Nevertheless, this measure will prove that skilled and conscientious work can lead to the rethinking of established opinions and even fundamental changes in perception. Therefore, any historical reconstruction is possible in case of an appropriate evidence base.
“Why Ancient Marble Statues Aren’t Meant to Be Seen as “White” (HBO).” YouTube, uploaded by Vice News, 2017, Web.