Using photogrammetry, multispectral imaging, plenty of educated guesses, we were able to restore this statue of Athena Parthenos to her former glory in full color. Working in collaboration with the MFA for the grand reopening of their renovated Ancient Greek and Roman Galleries
, I reconstructed the missing elements using both digital sculpting and 3D texturing techniques. The process included referencing other Greek and Rroman art to give me more information on objects such as her sandals, the stripes on her tunic, or the treatment of the pegasoi wings. The conservators at the MFA took pigment samples directly from the statue, which were applied and mixed digitally to replicate how egyptian blue pigment was used as a darkening agent for the red ochre. In 3D, I merged the new digitally sculpted elements with the 3D scan taken of the original Athena.
It was an honor to take part in such a collaboration with the museum staff but also to collaborate with the artists across time who created the original Athena Parthenos, and this Roman copy we have of her two thousand years later. Who knows who will be the next artist to contribute to Athena’s history?
In 2023, I gave a talk at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Symposium, Chroma: Ancient Sculpture in Color.
A paper on this collaboration among other fascinating polychromy research projects will be published in late 2024.