Jan Stubbe Østergaard

Reconstructing the nude parts of figures on the Ara Pacis: Some ‘educated guesses’

Very few traces of colour remain on the Ara Pacis. A reconstruction of the polychromy of the Ara must consequently be based on a considerable number of hypotheses. The evidence on which such hypotheses are based must be presented.

A case in point is the reconstruction of the nude parts of the male and female figures: How should these parts be shown in a reconstruction?

Here, one must ask what traditions for the rendering of the skin would in principle have been available to the sculpture painters working on the altar.

After a brief review of the literature on the subject, I will therefore offer a survey of the little we know about the representation of the skin in Greek Classical and Hellenistic sculpture on the one hand, and on Late Republican and Early Imperial Roman sculpture on the other.

Jan Stubbe Østergaard

research curator

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen