Gods In Colour Private View

Cold and drizzly Oxford was briefly brightened in late January by a visit to Ertegun House by Mrs Ertegun and Mrs Wachner. We enjoyed the pleasure of their company at a private evening viewing of the Ashmolean’s new exhibition, Gods in Colour. The exhibition comprises a group of twenty full-size casts of ancient sculptures, all painted in dazzling and surprising patterns and colours. Traces of variously coloured pigments, and the outline of patterns etched into the statues’ surfaces, have informed the exhibition and allowed the Ashmolean to present the casts as it is believes the ancients would have seen them, in all their original multi-coloured glory. The juxtaposition of the painted reconstructions with some more familiar-looking (original) bare marble sculptures makes the exhibition all the more interesting, engaging the viewer in questions of modern aesthetic conditioning, as well as illuminating ancient interaction with these sculptures, not so much as works of art, but rather as human substitutes, divine embodiments and part of the everyday visual fabric of their world and culture. The exhibition and talk were followed by dinner upstairs in the Ashmolean restaurant and a much appreciated opportunity to socialize with Mrs Ertegun and many of the Ertegun Board. We may only be half way through the academic calendar, but I think I can say with confidence that this evening was one of the highlights of the year, certainly one to remember.

Stephanie Oade