In other cases, the pigment may have been weathered away while exposed to the elements
or someone may have rigorously cleaned the statues and unknowingly removed the last traces of pigment.
So, the fact is, we do have evidence of polychrome sculptures from Greece and Rome from the 7th century B.C.E. all the way through at least the third or fourth century C.E.
It’s now generally accepted that most, maybe even all marble sculptures from that time period, receive some kind of surface treatment,
like the application of pigments, colored stones or metals that would’ve modified their color.
So do we interpret the statue differently if we know it had originally been polychrome?
I feel strongly when it comes to this. A marble sculpture that had been colored has another layer of meaning that was meant to affect the viewer.
As art historians, we must try to interpret the intentions of the artists. What were the artists trying to achieve?
Certain feature of the sculpture were highlighted through color, were made to stand out.
In other words, they caused the viewer to focus on certain features.
And certain colors represented certain things to the ancient artists and cultures.
A color might symbolize heroism, divinity or youth.
One example to consider is the statue of Roman emperor Augustus.