washingtonpost.com
Cuirass-Torso

Sunday, May 4, 2008

· The so-called "Cuirass-Torso," discovered on the Acropolis in Athens in 1896, would have been carved about 470 B.C. At first glance, the piece looks like a typical classical nude. In the 1990s, however, close study of the marble's surface revealed traces of an elaborately decorated undertunic that had once been painted poking out from all around the figure's torso. In ancient times, that would have made it doubly clear that the warrior's six-pack in fact represents a body-contoured breastplate made of beaten bronze. Almost invisible scratches in the marble had once acted as guidelines for the painting of the undertunic's pattern, and later weathering marks indicate that several different colors had been used to fill it in. The colors actually used on the reconstruction are hypothetical, based on other painted statues of the period. The marble of the breastplate might have been gilt, as a great many ancient sculptures were, but its gleaming metal could also have been rendered in shades of yellow.

View all comments that have been posted about this article.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company