Thames & Hudson’s World of Art series has had an excellent reputation for many years and its life has been extended by continual updates that refresh both the text and the illustrations. Current scholarship and production values are consistently reflected – illustrations are not exclusively in colour, but they are when it matters. It is ironic that we now know that Greek sculptures were originally highly coloured and that the notion of classic “pure” white marble is simply down to decay. In their day, these works would have been naturalistic and to see them uncoloured would have been as shocking as going, as a viewer, without clothes.
Sir John Boardman is one of the foremost scholars in the field of Greek art and, in fact, the original author of this volume, now in its fifth edition. He has experience in museums as well as in the field and one of his main premises is to encourage the reader to consider ancient works in their original context as well as in what we might call dry and dusty galleries. These were not, in their time, museum pieces, but a vibrant part of daily life, a fact it is sometimes easy to forget.
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